Here’s a story of crime and rebirth eyeing the global market

Call it the Slumdog Millionaire effect if you want, the global spotlight on Indian films shines a shade brighter. A whole bunch of made-in-India movies grabbed eyeballs at Cannes this year.

Amidst big productions such as Kambhakkht Ishq, Kites and the likes, a small film (produced with a budget of Rs. 5 crore) tried to attract the international market.

Its director Mohammad Shahjahan shares something in common with Danny Boyle. He, like Boyle, assisted Sir Richard Attenborough. Shahjahan’s film, Karma: Crime, Passion, Reincarnation, claims to have given a new twist to tried-and-tested reincarnation stories we’ve seen in innumerable films. Shahjahan’s project, shot in Ooty, stars Claudia Ciesla , Alma Saraci and Vijayendra Ghatge among others and has been written by Vivek Singhania. “The idea of karma is deeply rooted in Indian philosophy and has a great recall value. The plot puts normal people in abnormal situations. It’s an international film set in an Indian background,” says Shahjahan, who had earlier directed the Aamir Khan and Neelam starrer Afsana Pyar Ka.

Obviously, we wonder why he hasn’t been at the helm after having assisted Ismail Merchant, Richard Attenborough (for Gandhi) and David Lean among others. “It has taken me a long time, I admit. In between, I directed a film called Buland with Salman Khan. It never saw the light of the day. It was disheartening,” he says. Karma, he says, is a “tightly-woven drama targeting multiplex audience.” Apart from theatrical release worldwide, the producers are keen on tapping Europe’s DVD market. The film will be released in English and Hindi soon. “We screened the film at Cannes last year as well and the film won awards in film festivals in Spain and Greece,” says Shahjahan.

SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

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