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Return of the wife
Screen On & Off
Screen serenade: Jisshu and Nilanjanaa

Marriage and motherhood had kept her busy for the past two years. With daughter Sara turning 10 months old, Nilanjanaa is all set to return to Tollywood. One of her co-stars in the comeback vehicle, titled Amra, is husband Jisshu Sengupta with whom she does get into an on-screen relationship.

Amra has six characters in romantic link-ups and marriages. Though these are all individual stories, they are linked together. The film has a documentary style and there are interviews of the characters, giving an insight into the relationships,” says Nilanjanaa.

The 90-minute film is being directed by New York-based Moinak Bhaumik, who has edited Anjan Dutt’s The Bong Connection. Apart from the actor couple, Amra stars Parambrata Chatterjee, Ananya Chatterjee, Rudranil Ghosh and Rajatava Dutta.

The English-Bengali film is being produced by Nitesh Sharma’s Bangla Talkies, which had financed Sharon Dutta’s Raat Barota Panch and the yet-to-release Padakkhep starring Soumitra Chatterjee and Nandita Das.

“I wanted to get back to work and the script of Amra sounded very good. The film is targeted at the youth and the multiplex audience; the language is just the way we speak,” says Nilanjanaa, who plays a stage actress in the film.

“My character is married to a professor who has an extra-marital relationship. I go to audition for Nora’s role in a stage production of A Doll’s House where Jisshu is the theatre director,” says Nilanjanaa, who last appeared in Swapan Saha’s potboiler Agni co-starring Prosenjit. Her other Tollywood films include Subrata Sen’s Swapner Feriwala and Moloy Bhattacharya’s Teen Ekke Teen.

“Jisshu is very happy that I am working again. It’s great that we are in the same film… This has been possible because my mother (Anjana Bhowmick) is taking care of our daughter,” smiles Nilanjanaa, having kicked off her comeback with a stage show for Zee Bangla this week. The actress shared the stage with Jisshu in a dance number from 1942: A Love Story.

In the groove: Sabyasachi

Sporting spirit

In his fourth tryst with Bollywood after Dil Se, Khakee and Parineeta, Sabyasachi Chakraborty has landed a most meaty role. In Sanjay Chauhan’s debut feature film Lahore, he plays a stern sports administrator.

“I liked the director’s passion for the film and so I agreed to do this role. I’m not comfortable playing soft characters; they don’t suit me. I’d rather play a rough-and-tough character. Here, this man has a strong conviction and no place for compassion when it comes to playing a sport,” explained Sabyasachi, better known as Feluda in Bengal.

Chauhan, trained in martial arts and kickboxing, had earlier assisted Korean film-makers for projects based on martial arts. “I’m trying my hand at a sports-oriented film based on cricket and kickboxing. It will have a different take on Indo-Pak relations, which will be from the perspective of players and the youth of today,” said Chauhan, who chose Sabyasachi after watching his “impressive” performance in Dil Se. “I admire his personality and his ability to perform.”

The film about sportsmen and their spirit stars Pakistani beauty queen Mehreen Sayeed and model Vikas Singh in the lead, with Nafisa Ali playing mother to the protagonist. The cast also includes Sushant Singh, Prashant Narayanan and Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh.

Chauhan plans to begin shooting next month, in Delhi, Malaysia and then Lahore. “We have sent a proposal to the ministry of culture in Pakistan for permission to shoot in Lahore. They are quite enthusiastic… Lahore will not have any nationalistic overtones; it’s more about the mindset of sportsmen and team spirit,” said the debutant director.

M.M. Kreem who composed the music for Sur, Jism and Paheli, will score the tracks for Lahore, slated for a 2007 summer release.

Terror time

Starting September 1 is Discovery Channel’s eleven-part series Terror Strikes, on some of the most shocking terrorist attacks of the last four decades. Showing every night at 9 pm till 9/11, the series will take viewers close to the secret world of terrorism trying to get at the truths behind the attacks.

The series will begin with The 7/7 Bombers — A Psychological Investigation, which tries to read into the minds of the terrorists involved in the metro rail bombing of July 2005. Second in the line-up is the Beslan Seige, in which terrorists held a school hostage in the small Russian town; a drama which ends with 341 hostages killed, 178 of them children.

Another highlight is the attack on the Munich Olympics in September 1972 resulting in the death of 11 Israeli athletes before millions of TV viewers. The episodes uncover the truth about a government-sponsored revenge mission.

In other episodes are the Bali Bombings and Massacre in Madrid of October 2002 and March 2004. There’s the Moscow Siege, when an auditorium staging a play came under siege of heavily armed Chechens leading to 171 deaths. The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Tokyo Underground leads on to the Last Hour of Flight 11.

To be shown on September 10, Last Hour catches the precise moments of when the passengers had boarded Flight 11 to the second before the plane hit the twin towers. On September 11, it’s The Flight that Fought Back, a definitive account of the heroic events aboard Flight 93, which saved a nation from further tragedy on five years back.

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