MUMBAI: Amitabh Bachchan has greenlighted his career’s first screen adaptation of Marathi literature. He is all set to play the role of an aging Shakespearean actor in the big-screen adaptation of V V Shirwadkar’s Marathi literary masterpiece Natsamrat.
The role has been done on Marathi stage by such stalwarts as Dr Shreeram Lagoo. Director Mahesh Manjrekar who had been scripting the screen version of the celebrated play for more than a year, finally took the screenplay to the Big B for approval last week. The project is all set to roll in the next couple of months, ahead of Sudhir Mishra’s Mehrunissa, the only other project that the Big B has greenlighted. According to a source close to the Big B he plunges into Natsamrat as soon he returns from his medical checkup from abroad.
Manjrekar who is understandably charged by the thought of merging the Bachchan with Marathi literature says it’s dream role for the actor. “Mr Bachchan has done it all. When he read Natsamrat the protagonist just grabbed him. This is the kind of challenge he’s looking for at this stage of his career.”
The Big B’s only fear was the role would have shades of Rituparno Ghosh’s The Last Lear where the Big B played an aging Shakespearean actor. Says Manjrekar, “I saw Rituparno Ghosh’s film to make sure there’re no similarities between his film and mine. Mr Bachchan’s role in Natsamrat is completely different from The Last Lear.He plays a fading stage actor who forgets the difference between real life and the Shakespearean characters he plays.I feel at this stage in his career this is the kind of challenge Mr Bachchan needs. And he agrees.”
In the next few months the Big B will undertake extensive preparation for his role in Natsamrat .Since he has never acted in a movie version of a stage adaptation the actor needs to merge the stage and screen performance in the same line of vision.