KOLKATA: Nawazuddin Siddiqui is busy shooting for 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' with Salman Khan in Kashmir. In between shooting with Salman, he is also training to be a boxer! No, not because he was inspired by the 12-round marathon welterweight duel between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao on TV. In a month's time, Nawazuddin will be shooting for a Bollywood film where he will be playing the role of a boxer. Come June and Nawazuddin and Saif Ali Khan will be shooting in Darjeeling for Sujoy Ghosh's adaptation of 'The Devotion of Suspect X'. Oven-fresh after winning the National Award for Best Actress, Kangna Ranaut will also join the cast.
Incidentally, Balaji Motion Pictures has acquired the rights to the romantic thriller 'The Devotion of Suspect X' by Japanese best-selling author Keigo Higashino. Says a source in the film industry, "The first schedule of the movie will begin in June and continue till July. There is an interesting boxing duel between Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin that will be shot in Darjeeling too."
Nawaz, who shot to fame with 'Kahaani' that was shot in Kolkata, has shot for Buddhadeb Dasgupta's 'Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa' in this city. He again returned to Kolkata to shoot for Kushan Nandy's unfinished 'Babumoshai Bandookbaaz' that got derailed because of various problems. For a very brief period of time, he was back in Kolkata to shoot for the Nicole Kidman-starrer 'Lion'.
Before reaching Darjeeling on June 6, Nawaz will wrap his five-day shoot for Shah Rukh Khan's 'Raees'. "Right now, my brother is in a no-network zone in Kashmir. He was supposed to go to go to Cannes but can't make it because of the back-to-back shooting schedules. A film " 'Miyan Kal Ana' that's produced by him and directed by me " will be screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner," says Nawazuddin's brother, director Shamaas Nawab, who will be leaving for Cannes shortly.
While Nawaz has never shot in Darjeeling, Saif Ali Khan is familiar with this region. Way back in the 1969 film 'Aradhana', his mother, Sharmila Tagore, had shot the famous 'Mere sapno ki rani' song in a toy train with Rajesh Khanna virtually chasing her in an open jeep. Much later, in 2005, Pradeep Sarkar's 'Parineeta' had brought Saif to shoot in Sukna where he had hopped onto a toy train for 'Kashto mazaa he relaima'. Darjeeling's famous St Paul's School had served as the backdrop for Raj Kapoor's 'Mera Naam Joker' and 'Bobby' before Sushmita Sen played a teacher in this school for Shah Rukh Khan's 'Main Hoon Na'. The school was again used as the climactic scene for Anurag Basu's 'Barfi'.
Anurag, in 'Barfi', had reignited Bollywood's romance with Darjeeling.Continuing with their Darjeeling affair, Anurag and Ranbir are returning to the Hills yet again. This time around, it will be to shoot parts of Ranbir-Katrina Kafi starrer 'Jagga Jasoos' in Darjeeling and the Dooars.
Coincidentally enough, both Sujoy and Anurag's films will be shot in June. That's enough to keep the Hills abuzz with a lot of activity. Says Kaushik Das, who is the production designer of Sujoy's film, "I have been working in Bengali films and was the production designer of 'Kahaani' too. But, this is by far the most challenging work that I have done in my career. For the next five months, I'll be busy with this movie."
The challenge, of course, is not just in terms of shooting a Hindi film. Crowd management apart, negotiating a film shoot in the Hills during the monsoons is a major concern. But then, it's a small price to be paid for watching the rain-drenched Hills metamorphose into visual poetry for the Bollywood screen.