Javed Akhtar, one-half of the iconic Salim-Javed duo who wrote Mr India is not impressed, let alone moved, by director Shekhar Kapur’ s condemnation of Zee Network and director Ali Abbas Zafar’s plans to turn Kapur’s 1987 classic Mr India into a franchise.
Shekhar Kapur tweeted, “No one has even asked me or mentioned to me about this film called Mr India 2. I can only guess that they using the title to get a big weekend. For they cannot use the characters/story without permission from the original creators of the film.”
Speaking exclusively to this writer Javed asks, “Today Shekhar Kapur is offended because no one has consulted him about this new project. Why should they? They may or may not be morally bound to inform the people involved with the original film. But they are not legally bound to do so. And where was his sense of creative outrage when he had disregarded the bound script of Mr India that we had given to producer Boney Kapoor and Shekhar? Shekhar chose to do his own thing back then. Today when other people are doing the same he is upset.”
While Shekhar has vehemently opposed the idea of a sequel (saying in an earlier interview with me, “I don’t know what is happening with that project or what Boney Kapoor’s plans are. I was never going to direct the sequel. First Amrish Puriji now with Sridevi no more, the question doesn’t arise.”) Javed Akhtar is open to the idea of carrying the Mr India characters forward. “I can’t say what they’ve in mind. They haven’t approached me or asked for my opinion. Until I know what they plan to do with the characters I can’t comment on it.’
As far as moving ahead with Mr India without Amrish Puri and Sridevi is concerned Javed says, “That’s not so impossible. Every James Bond film has its own heroine and villain. Like I said it all depends what they do with the characters.”
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