Another Sai Baba offering of Rs. 50 million from Deepak Vij

Ajinkya Recording Studios, Juhu : As we had reported earlier (news archives 9th April 2006), Filmmaker Deepak Balraaj Vij turned from violent films to devotional cinemas with his religious Marathi film Mohityachi Renuka and his second Hindi movie based on Sai Baba (Fans of devotional cinema will remember his earlier Shirdi Sai Baba in 2001).

Earlier titled as Ek Dharam Sai Ka, it is now Malik Ek. ‘Bhajan Samrat’ Anup Jalota scored a ‘sufi’ musical composition penned by Javed Akhtar; while Anuradha Paudwal rendered the song with her chorus. Veteran Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali will also render a song for this pious film. Produced by his wife Kishori Shahane Vij under the banner of Om The Mantra Productions, the film will mount the sets from November end or December first week.

Vij surprised the business trade when he announced Jackie Shroff in the title role, instead of the favourite Sudhir Dalvi, an artiste known for his Sai Baba roles.

“After the script was developed, the casting zeroed down to Jaggu dada. Everyone liked the idea of Jackie playing the title role. He has a suave face. You’d be surprised that Jackie didn’t even blink before signing on the dotted line,” says Deepak Balraaj Vij.

How different will this film be from his previous one? “Malik Ek is very much different from Shirdi Sai Baba. The trustees of ‘Shirdi Ke Sai Baba’ along with my team of writers have researched on the subject for 4 – 5 years, since 2001. In this film, we are not showing the childhood of ‘Sai Baba’. Our story begins from the age when HE was 28 years old,” says the director.

He further adds, “The earlier film was budgeted at Rs. 25 million (Rs. 2.5 crore). This one will cost us double, something like Rs. 50 million (Rs. 5 crore). I intend to complete the shooting by February 2007. 40 – 50% of the shooting will be held in Shirdi and the balance in Mumbai on a sprawling set of ‘Dwarka Mai’.”

For once, Jackie Shroff was happily voluble. “Deepak and I share a long relation. I have worked with him in Hafta Bandh, Stuntman and Hafta Vasuli. I am confident about him as a technician. There are crores of ‘Babas’ followers all over. I am one of them too. Nevertheless, for me my mother is important to me. I always find time to sit by my mother and massage her feet. She is my ‘Malik Ek‘. With her blessing, I hope to do justice to my role.”

Shakti Kapoor plays the bad man in the film. “When Jaggu-dada had started his career in Hero, I played a baddie in the film. Now again when he is playing Sai Baba, I’m the bad man – Kulkarni, the naughtiest scheming person in the village,” he laughs

Mumbai Godfather was Deepak Balraaj Vij’s last film in 2005. It was a non-starter at the box-office while Shirdi Sai Baba was an average grosser. However, it brought in moolah for producer Aushim Khetarpal. In 2002, the then President K.R. Narayanan had awarded the makers with the National Integration award.

Filmography: Zakhmee Insaan (1982), Kahan Hai Kanoon (1989), Sailaab (1990), Hafta Bandh (1991), Jaan Tere Naam (1992), Bomb Blast (1993), Stuntman (1994), Dance Party (1995), Hafta Vasuli (1998) and Aaya Toofan (1999).

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Johnny Vaz & Ashok Anchan

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