The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Page from past, call of future

If you thought that the Parineeta parade in Calcutta was all over and the next thing on the Vidhu Vinod Chopra production would be on the big screen, well, you've got it wrong. Director Pradeep Sarkar will be back on Wednesday to can some more snatches of Calcutta for the final touches to the celluloid adaptation of the Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay classic, starring Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan and Raima Sen.

'A couple of ambience shots of the city streets was left to be taken and I have been pushing the dates back and back,' says Sarkar from Mumbai.

'But with the film releasing on May 20, I had to come and get it over and done with. We were even contemplating capturing those particular shots by building sets in Mumbai but then decided against it because you can never get the real Calcutta anywhere else.'

So Sarkar and his team, headed by cinematographer Natarajan, will be shooting night-time Park Street on Thursday and Friday before returning to Mumbai to add the images to the 'almost ready' film. 'Since Parineeta the film is set in the 1960s and not in the 1920s and 30s as in the novel, we have to make the city streets look like that at night time. Jombe mone hoy',' adds Sarkar.

Saif Ali Khan as Shekhar on the sets of Parineeta

But Parineeta's not the only reason that will bring Sarkar back to the city. He also plans to shoot a 60-second commercial on behalf of his production company, Apocalypso Film Works, for the government of India. 'The ministry of tourism of the government of India has launched Atithi Deva Bhava, a social awareness campaign to create awareness among stakeholders of the tourism industry,' says Sarkar. 'They plan to train people like taxi drivers and tour guides to improve their behaviour and conduct to attract more tourists to the country. So they have got us to shoot two commercials for this new project ' one in Mumbai and the other in Calcutta.'

Sarkar, who gave the city a taste of real Bollywood by getting the Saifs and Sanjus parked here for more than a month, won't have any stars coming with him this time. 'No, I don't need any of the stars for the couple of Parineeta shots left to be taken. As for the commercial, well, it is about the common man and I plan to have only ordinary people in the ad. While in Mumbai, I will shoot at the Gateway of India, in Calcutta it will be the Victoria Memorial,' says Sarkar.

As for the Parineeta promos, keep your eyes glued to the small screen. 'The teasers may come any time. Keep watching,' smiles Sarkar.

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