Onir, Tigmanshu Dhulia to make Hamlet

The proverbial Hamletian dilemma ‘To be or not to be, that’s the question,’ has now gone into a new zone of interpretation. We can now rephrase the oft-quoted line to say, “To make or not to make, that’s no longer the question.’

Two auteur directors Onir and Tigmanshu Dhulia have decided to direct films based on Shakespeare’s immortal tragic play Hamlet. And Onir is very upset with Tigmanshu’s plans. The director of I Am feels he has been betrayed by a colleague.

Connecting from Australia, Onir says he was shocked to hear of Tigmanshu’s plans, “I had no idea about this since I’ve been traveling in Australia. I’ve been working on Vedaa which is my take on Hamlet for three years. It would be a pity if Tigmanshu or anyone else that I know of as a fellow-filmmaker decided to make the film on the same subject.”

Onir is surprised that Tigmanshu didn’t bother to contact him before making this film. “My proposed film has been in the news for quite some time. We know each other. And as a colleague and a fellow-filmmaker I’d at least expect him to speak to me about it.”

Now Onir says there is no question of giving up his plans of making Hamlet. “My writer Bhavani Iyer and I have invested too much love passion and time on this project to even think of giving it up.”

What’s more, Onir has a supportive corporate house as producer. “Reliance Entertainment has signed me to do Vedaa. Composer Mithoon has recorded 3 songs for the movie. My recce is done. I make my films with love and no power on earth can make me give up my dream.”

Significantly, Dhulia has sounded out Hrithik Roshan to play Hamlet. Onir is apparently keen to get Ranbir Kapoor for the role. Says Onir, “My cast for Vedaa would be announced soon. I plan to start shooting in August.”

Dhulia’s Hamletian plans won’t deter Onir. Says Onir, “I see no reason to change my plans. But I’d be very disappointed if Tigmanshu goes ahead with his own version of Hamlet. Anyone has the right to make Hamlet. I don’t own the copyright to Shakespeare. But if I know another filmmaker is doing the same subject, the least I’d do is make a call.”

Tigmanshu Dhulia who was untraceable finally responded from the Jim Corbett Park where he is holidaying. Says Tigmanshu Dhulia, “I am most certainly doing Hamlet. I think I am more qualified to make a film on that play than anyone else. I’ve not only studied that play minutely I also studied Hamlet at drama school under a very famous Shakespearean drama teacher. Hamlet is part of my being. As for Onir, why should he be upset? There are so many different plays and films based on so many of Shakespeare’s works. All different from one another. What Vishal Bhardwaj did with Shakespeare’s Macbeth was very different from what Geoffrey Wright did in Australia with that play. And I believe there are several versions of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet being made right now. That’s the beauty of Shakespeare. His works open to infinite interpretations.”

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