It's a dream come true, Mahesh Manjrekar informs me, as we sit down to watch portions of his new film RAKHT at IIFA, Singapore. But more on that later! Manjrekar sounds elated as we discuss the new film that he has signed. And it stars the incredible combo - Amitabh Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore - two of the finest talents of Indian cinema. To be made in Hindi and English languages simultaneously, the film will co-star Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan in pivotal roles. Titled VIRUDDH in Hindi and VERSUS in English ['Vs' say the posters!], the film is being produced by Bachchan's A.B. Corp. and Manjrekar's Satyajeet Movies jointly. I'd bounced the idea of the film to Amit-ji while working in KAANTE, Manjrekar reminisces, But we decided to make KUTUMBH in the meanwhile. Unfortunately, the plans of making KUTUMBH were aborted subsequently, but the desire to make a film with Big B continued to ignite within me. I decided to work on the story of VIRUDDH in the intervening period. Getting the two veterans [Big B, Sharmila Tagore] wasn't problematical. They loved the script. I haven't attempted this genre before. It would be a treat to direct the two stalwarts. I am looking forward to that, he smiles. Manjrekar has decided to shoot the film from July onwards and complete it by December this year. The Hindi version will be released in the domestic market, while the English version is targeted at the international territory. The two versions will have one song each, though we may record more songs to create a rich album, he divulges. Meanwhile, Manjrekar has resolved not to act in films henceforth. I've just finished shooting STRUGGLER [a one-character film starring Manjrekar himself]. I am exhausted completely. There's nothing to accomplish as an actor after this film. It's better to pursue direction, he gets serious. On the professional front, his last few films haven't worked magic at the box-office. I accept the responsibility completely. As the captain of the ship, the onus is on me. May be people always felt that I'd outclass VAASTAV. May be the expectations were enormous every time, he feels, But I hope to bounce back with RAKHT and VIRUDDH.
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