Salman Khan goes head to head with regional superstars

It’s time for some filmi gyaan

Endemol India, best known for its game show Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by the redoubtable Amitabh Bachchan, has taken its first step in Bollywood with Traffic, a remake of Rajesh Pillai’s Malayalam superhit of the same name. Pillai has directed the Hindi version as well and the film is due a March 7, 2014, release. Shahid Khader remade Traffic in Tamil as Chennayil Oru Naal, starring the once formidable Sharath Kumar. The Bollywood remake, a co-production with Fox Star Studios, stars two regional superstars, Jimmy Shergill of the Punjab industry and Prosenjit from Bengal. It also has Bengali A-lister Parambrata Chatterjee (known to Bollywood audiences, or not, from Kahaani) and Manoj Bajpayee.

Speaking of Kahaani, Endemol’s maiden venture into the Indian film business is with the Tamil and Telugu remakes of the film starring Nayantara in the role made immortal by Vidya Balan and directed by Shekhar Kammula of Leader fame. Speaking of Leader, the star of the film Rana Daggubati, who also featured in Fox’s Dum Maaro Dum, was spotted last week en-route to a Goan holiday. He was flying economy, unrecognised.

Endemol’s film arm has the terrible name of Eyedentity Motion Pictures. Wonder which genius thought of that one. Time now for the usual platitudes…

Deepak Dhar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Endemol India said, “With Traffic, Endemol enters the Hindi film sphere and we are fortunate to have partnered with Fox Star Studios for such an incredible script that involves a diverse mix of characters caught in an unlikely situation. Brought to life by a brilliant screenplay that pits together all the characters in a race against time, the incredible casting is bound to keep the audiences hooked till the end.”

Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios said, “We are excited to have partnered with Endemol India as they debut in the Indian film industry. Traffic comes with tremendous credentials – National award winning director plus commercial & critical success in Malayalam – it promises to be an emotionally thrilling experience! At Fox Star Studios, our endeavour has been to support path breaking entertaining cinema. We believe in the story of Traffic and that it must be told to a wide audience. Audiences today are seeking new and distinctive content and we continue to strive to deliver films that capture the imagination .The film is the first up on our slate for 2014 that will feature mega productions, massy entertainers and clutter breaking films.”

March 7 is a crowded date and Traffic will be up against Anubhav Sinha’s much-anticipated Madhuri Dixit Nene starrer Gulaab Gang. That date also sees the release of Atul Agnihotri’s O Teri, anticipated chiefly for an extended cameo by his brother in law Salman Khan. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron director Kundan Shah’s P Se PM Tak is also due a release on that date but whether it will have any takers in this day and age is a moot point.