One of the greatest actors of all time, Dilip Kumar, passed away on July 7, 2021. At that point, a lot of reports reminded fans about his directorial project, Kalinga, and how it never saw the light of the day. It was the only film directed by the talented performer and it starred him along with Amjad Khan, Raj Babbar, Raj Kiran, Shilpa Shirodkar, Amitosh Mann, Meenakshi Seshadri, Kiran Kumar and others. Days before his demise, producer Sangeeta Ahir revealed that she is working on the film and plans to release it soon.
A few days ago, Bollywood Hungama caught up with Sangeeta Ahir and she confirmed that work is in full swing and that she holds its rights. When asked if she’s planning to release Kalinga in cinemas, she replied, “We have nearly 8 hours of footage and we are digitizing it fully. And as you are aware, the theatres are shut in Maharashtra currently. Yet, it makes sense to think of having a theatrical release. Currently, we are focusing on finishing the background score, colour grading etc.”
Sangeeta Ahir reveals that she’s excited with the content of the film and said, “A lot of lovely stuff is there in the footage. In those days, films were shot differently. There were no visual effects. So it’s a nice learning experience for all of us while working on Kalinga. Also, I remember during the scripting stage that one writer would write the script in Urdu while another writer would write it in Hindi.” She continues, “It has one of the best performances of Amjad Khan. I think, after Sholay (1975), this was his next best performance. It gives me goose bumps every time I see him.”
Though the news of Kalinga’s revival surfaced during Dilip Kumar’s demise, Sangeeta Ahir admits that work had begun on this project before. She also shared, “Dilip saab was like family to me. My kanyadaan was done by him and Saira ji (Saira Banu). Kalinga was his dream project, his only directorial venture. The whole industry was waiting to see it.”
Sangeeta Ahir is confident that Kalinga will serve as a lesson to the youngsters who are involved in filmmaking. She rued, “Aaj kal ke films mein entertainment ke naam pe kuch bhi hota hai. The language, the writing, the technique – you need to work on everything. Hopefully, the aspiring filmmakers and film technicians will learn a thing or two when they watch Kalinga.”
Certain reports on the internet claim that Kalinga has been partially shot. However, Sangeeta Ahir assures that it is not true. She adds, “In fact, it has been overshot! We have 8 hours of footage and we have to now decide how to trim or should we turn it into a series.”
Kalinga was launched in 1992 with much fanfare. Dilip Kumar reportedly played the role of Justice Kalinga in this film which was about the conflict of values. Sudhakar Bokade, the producer of the super-hit film Saajan (1990), had produced the grand film. The film took many years to make and was finally shelved. Its music was composed by legendary composer duo Kalyanji-Anandji and is their last work.
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