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Mr India Franchise: Javed Akhtar Lashes Out At Shekhar

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Javed Akhtar Lashes Out At  Shekhar Says, Says His Protest Against The Proposed Mr India Franchise Are Selfish

 Javed Akhtar, one-half of the iconic Salim-Javed duo who wrote  Mr India is  not  impressed, let alone moved, by director Shekhar Kapoor’ s condemnation  of  Zee Network and  director Ali Abbas Zafar’s  plans to  turn Kapoor’s 1987 classic Mr India into a franchise.

Shekhar Kapoor  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.”

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Speaking exclusively  to this writer Javed asks, “Today Shekhar Kapoor 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.”

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   In  an  interviewwith  me  some years  ago Shekhar Kapoor had said, “It was an idea brought to me by Boney Kapoor based on a script that Salim-Javed had written. I never read that script. I am a hundred percent sure that what we made finally was very different from what Salim-Javed had written originally. I never saw that original Salim-Javed script which I believe had been conceived for Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. As for what you saw on screen in Mr. India, the scenes were written as we were filming. There was a constant improvisation on the sets.

Do you know, Mogambo was written after we started shooting….We knew there was going to be a goofy villain who’d have to go beyond Daga and Teja. But we didn’t know who or what it would be.Javed Akhtar was struggling to create a new kind of villain. Mogambo was born as we were filming, just like ideas like Sridevi going into the villain’s den dressed as Charlie Chaplin.”

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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.’

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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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