MUMBAI: Umrao Jaan is all set to release on 3 November and expectations are high from this Abhishekh Bachchan – Aishwarya Rai starrer, which is directed by J.P. Dutta. The film’s art director Bijon Das Gupta says, “Don’t expect to see Devdas-like sets in Umrao Jaan.“
Reluctant to divulge the expenditure incurred for the sets of the film, Das Gupta adds, “This film is about a courtesan who is a kathak dancer so her eye movements had to be captured effectively. In fact Aishwarya was the first and the only choice because of her eyes. She sits on the carpet and dances and does not move around much. So the focus had to be on her eyes and face rather than the background. Hence we have not shot on cranes and neither have we used chandeliers in the film. Instead the audience can expect to see a lot of mirror work, effective use of oil lamps and beautiful carpets.”
The art director has also played around with colours in the forthcoming film. “Blue colour has been used for Aishwarya in majority of her scenes to bring out her cold feelings and sufferings. Similarly for Shabana I have used red and gold to bring out her power. Brown has been used in the film to show the downfall of the Nawab’s kingdom.”
When asked if he had to make references from the earlier Umrao Jaan, Das Gupta said, “I haven’t taken any reference from the earlier Umrao Jaan. On the contrary, Ruswa’s book came to my rescue for reference.”
Many of the props like guns, coins, peekdaan, hookah and pure silver furniture that belonged to the 19th century era have been replicated in the film to give it an authentic look. “Most of the props were not easily available, so I had to take references and duplicate or buy them from exporters,” he informs.
The film has been shot extensively in