The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ash and Aankhen set up Hollywood dates

Mumbai/Bangalore Dec. 6: Aankhen and Aishwarya are heading for Hollywood.

Aankhen, starring Amitabh Bachchan, is scheduled to become the first Hindi film to inspire a Hollywood clone, though the proposal has sparked a tussle over the film’s rights.

A Canada-based film company, Prime Marketing, has approached Aankhen director Vipul Shah to remake the film into a Hollywood thriller.

The Hindi film — which many thought was inspired by Hollywood in the first place — had Bachchan masterminding a bank robbery with the help of three blind men. It also featured Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Sushmita Sen.

The Hollywood version has been tentatively titled Three Blind Men and Prime Marketing is keen to rope in Robert DeNiro in Bachchan’s role. A new script, tailored for Hollywood, is in place, ready for scrutiny by studios.

“We got a call from a producer in Canada, Ranjit Raina from Prime Marketing, three months back. He said he would be interested in making Aankhen into a Hollywood flick,” said Shah.

The proposed remake is already in a spot of trouble with Shah and producer Gaurang Doshi divided over the rights to the film. But they insist that the issue will be settled amicably.

Aankhen is based on a Gujarati play, Aandhalo Paato, written by Aatish Kapadia. Shah worked with Kapadia on the story and screenplay of Aankhen, which was produced by Doshi.

Now there is confusion on who will sell the film. Kapadia and Shah say Doshi has the rights to the Hindi film and that he can show it or dub it in any way possible. But Hollywood would have to buy the rights to the original play from them as the English version will be based on the play.

“We will take care to see that the issue is settled amicably,” said Kapadia.

Ash back with scripts

In Bangalore, Aishwarya Rai said she expected to make her Hollywood debut next year.

“I had excellent meetings in the US. I have come back with a number of scripts. I am going through the scripts and I am open to work in the latter half of next year,” Aishwarya said.

She said she was in the US recently for a charity where she met representatives of the agencies. “I have tied up with the managers,” she said.

Aishwarya added that starring in an English film meant no more to her than acting in a Tamil or Bengali movie. “It is just another film. English films would mean just that.”

She said she would have to be “excited” by the script, the role and the director of the film.

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