'So dignified, so graceful' - Gautam Halder’s Mukti drawsRakhee out of retirement.

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By KUSHALI NAG
  • Published 7.01.11
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Raakhee Gulzar

Bhalo Theko director Gautam Halder has been itching to get back to lights-camera-action since his directorial debut starring a rookie Vidya Balan seven years ago. The moment, it seems, is finally upon him.

Mukti, the film he has been planning for the past few years, is slated to roll by end-January starring Rakhee Gulzar in the lead. Rakhee will play the title role of Mukti, a 70-year-old staunch Brahmin widow, in the film based on Moti Nandi’s novel Bijolibalar Mukti.

“When I had read the novel a couple of years back, the first face that popped up in my mind was Rakheedidi’s. She is so dignified and so graceful, just what is needed to play Bijolibala. Initially, Rakheedidi was reluctant because she is adamant about not doing films anymore. I requested her to listen to the story and then take a call. After much cajoling, she read the script and fell in love with Bijolibala,” said Halder. In Tollywood, Rakhee was last seen in Rituparno Ghosh’s Shubho Mahurat in 2003.

Bidisha

Mukti also stars model-turned-actress Bidita Bag and Samadarshi in two pivotal roles. Bidita plays Bijolibala’s tenant Hashi, a role that Halder had first offered to Vidya in 2007. A year later, Kajol’s li’ sister Tanishaa came on board for Hashi but the film got shelved again.

“The film didn’t happen with Vidya due to certain issues but there’s mutual respect between me and her. And I hadn’t finalised anything with Tanishaa,” explained Halder.

“Samadarshi plays Hashi’s husband Jyoti. Bijolibala lives in north Calcutta and when the couple become her tenants, Hashi and Bijolibala start bonding,” he added.

Smadarshi

Calcutta girl Bidita is excited to have bagged a role in a film with Rakhee. “Gautam Halder had seen some of my TV commercials and I have a few well-wishers in Calcutta who recommended my name to him. I have never met Rakhee Gulzar and I have a lot of scenes with her! She is one of my favourite actresses,” gushed Bidita over phone from Mumbai.

In terms of changes in the script, Halder has scapped the character of Bijolibala’s brother. “I felt the role wasn’t significant. That apart, I haven’t made too many changes,” said Halder.

For the backstage team, Halder has got cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay, set designer Samir Chanda and editor Arghyakamal Mitra. Produced by ICore Entertainment, most of Mukti will be shot in Calcutta.