The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jogger chase ends at Victor door
- Ghai picks ‘handsome’ & ‘mature’ actor

The film needed a 62-year-old, handsome protagonist-hero. The search was not easy. But producer Subhash Ghai is happy that he finally decided on Victor Banerjee as the lead for his ready-to-be-released venture, Joggers’ Park.

“It was a long and difficult search. I was not looking for someone like Anupam Kher or Amrish Puri. I wanted someone who was both handsome in a mature way as well as a good actor. And I am happy the way Victor has delivered. So has heroine Perizaad Zorabian,” proffers Ghai, who has written and produced the film.

Ghai zeroed in on the Calcutta-based actor when veteran film writer Sachin Bhowmick suggested his name. Victor, who was most recently seen in Ram Gopal Varma’s horror hit, Bhoot, plays a retired, 62-year-old judge. The script centres around his relationship with an attractive young woman whom he meets in a park.

Joggers’ Park is about how two persons from different generations look at life and at each other,” says Ghai, who started his career as a flop hero in films like Umang and Gumraah, and then recast himself as a director with Kalicharan.

The genesis of Joggers’ Park dates back to the early seventies when Ghai had met a girl named Jenny. “The story is about her. And it was in my mind all these years. However, I couldn’t have dared to make a film like this back then,” says Ghai, also the chairman of Mukta Arts Limited.

Last year, the filmmaker tossed the story idea to his writers’ team in Mukta Arts and asked them to develop it into a script.

Joggers’ Park is also a test case for Ghai’s film-making company. The man who made big-budget hits like Vidhaata and Saudagar now wants to experiment with the new urban-small budget movies. The film, directed by newcomer Anant Balani, was completed in a single-shooting schedule of 38 days.

Slated for release next month, Joggers’ Park will be distributed by Ghai’s own company and shown in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and the South. “Through this film, we are trying to find out if the selected gentry audience of metros can cover the costs of the film,” says Ghai, who was the first mainstream Bollywood filmmaker to turn his company public and insure his films.

Made for a measly Rs 2.5 crore, including Rs 1 crore spent in publicity, Joggers’ Park is the least expensive Mukta Arts film ever made.

The film was publicised at the Cannes film festival. Ghai has also tied up with cellular service provider AirTel and top portal MSN to promote the film.

That apart, earlier this month, Mukta Arts Limited entered a joint venture with Manmohan Shetty, Chairman of Adlabs Ltd, proposing the formation of a new company, Mukta Adlabs Digital Exhibition Limited, that will update 400 B class theatres across India in the next one year.

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