MUMBAI: Good news for Bollywood vis-a-vis Akhilesh Yadav’s ascension in UP. The young Samajwadi heir-apparent is most enthusiastic about Bollywood and is expected to throw the doors of UP wide-open to filmmakers from Mumbai. Directors like Prakash Jha and Sudhir Mishra who have faced road-blocks in their filmmaking plans in UP are already gearing up for the changed circumstances in the State.
Prakash Jha was not allowed to take the Big B to the universities of Uttar Pradesh during the promotion of Aarakshan. But now Sudhir Mishra who has been grappling to get the Big B into Lucknow for Mehrunissa is finally planning his first schedule in the city.
To everyone’s surprise we got to now that Akhilesh Yadav is a big Heavy Metal enthusiast and a huge fan of Bollywood music and films. Says a source, “Akhilesh has the largest collection of Heavy Metal songs and albums culled from all across the world. Even die hard Metal enthusiasts would be impressed by his knowledge and collection of Metal music.”
According to a very reliable source, Akhilesh has some really close friends in the Mumbai film industry, the closest being director Arjun Sablok of ‘Na Tum Jano Na Hum’ fame. Akhilesh and Arjun go back a long way and apparently have very close family ties. In fact the two buddies together planned the entire Samajwadi Party election campaign. Sablok shot all the Samajwadi electoral films. But with constant and persuasive inputs from Mulayam Singh’s son who masterminded the Samajwadi victory in UP.
Says a source, “The turning point in Akhilesh’s political career was when his wife Dimple lost the elections to Raj Babbar. He decided to change his strategy to target his politics to a younger more forward-looking section of voters and that included addressing his political aspirations to the young neglected and uneducated section of UP. Akhilesh began planning the Samajwadi Party’s Ummeed Ki Cycle election campaign nearly two years ago. He took Arjun Sablok into confidence. Arjun has been flying in and out of Lucknow constantly, planning and shooting a series of films.”
Now that the campaign has worked Arjun, we hear, would be shooting his next feature film in Lucknow and other parts of UP. When contacted Sablok was somewhat reticent about his rapport with the new shining star of Uttar Pradesh. “It doesn’t seem right to flaunt one’s proximity to power. At the same time I can’t deny that Akhilesh and I go back a long way. We’re family friends. And yes, he did invite me to shoot all the campaign films. I shot all 6 of the Samajwadi’s electoral films. Akhilesh was hands-on in the process.”
Sablok admits Akhilesh’s understanding of cinema is “considerable” and would definitely herald a new era in Uttar Pradesh’s relationship with Bollywood. Says a source, “Shooting in the State had become almost impossible. Films based in Uttar Pradesh like Dabangg were shot near Mumbai. But now Dabangg 2 will take Salman Khan to Lucknow and Kanpur.”