Willard Carroll, a Hollywood director, has just announced his new project MARIGOLD. Now that would be quite an ordinary announcement for us here, except for the fact that Carroll has done what millions of Indians have fondly hoped for decades an Indian actor playing the lead in a Hollywood flick.
And Salman Khan it is who gets the honour of being the first Indian star to play the lead in a mainstream Hollywood motion picture. The news about Salman has been floating around for the last few weeks. But Hyperion Pictures, the producers of MARIGOLD, officially announced it last week.
Director Willard Carroll has directed three films. His best effort has been PLAYING BY HEART (1998), which had a large star cast including Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Gillian Anderson and Madeleine Stowe among others.
To be made in Hindi and English, MARIGOLD is about a B-grade American actress who is shooting for a B-grade film in India. The shooting gets cancelled and she is stranded in India penniless. Salman, a choreographer in Bollywood, befriends her and gets her a role in a film called PYAR BINA KYA ZINDAGI. While teaching her to dance, the two fall in love. But there are some cross-cultural problems
Farah Khan is the choreographer, Javed Akhtar is the lyricist and Nitin Desai is doing the sets.
THE TARGET AUDIENCE:
Says Carroll: Salman has what it takes to be accepted by an American audience. You have to remember that basically MARIGOLD will cater to the American audience. It is not being made primarily with the Indian market in mind. It is a mainstream Hollywood production.
NUMBER OF SONGS:
Six. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy will compose the songs, which will be in Hindi and English. The girl sings her songs in English.
SALMAN'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE SCRIPT:
Says Carroll: I got a lot of inputs for the script through my interaction with Salman. He gave me a lot of insight into the cultural nuances that would otherwise have been lost. After the script was written, we put it through him and he did make many suggestions, most of which we incorporated.
SALMAN'S CO-STARS TO BE:
Jennifer Love Hewitt? Britney Spears? Gwyneth Paltrow? None have been finalised.
INDIAN CO-STARS (Rumours are rife that Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherji are also playing significant roles in the film. As also Amitabh Bachchan, Dimple Kapadia and Amrish Puri).
Says Carroll: Except for Salman, no names have been finalised.
A little less than US $ 10 million. SHOOTING LOCATIONS: Goa, Rajasthan and Mumbai. RELEASE STRATEGY: International distributors will distribute the English version. For the Hindi version, the makers will sell it like any other Hindi film.
Shooting begins next February. The film will be shot in a single 11-week schedule and will hit the theatres by the end of 2003.
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