Umrao Jaan , which stars the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai in the lead role, will focus on Amiran, the woman, and not Umrao Jaan.
“I was sure that I wanted my film to be about Amiran, the woman, and not Umrao Jaan, the courtesan that the world saw. I wanted to showcase the ‘person’ rather than the ‘persona’. In fact, for the longest time, I was debating on calling my film Amiran…,” he said and added that women were his “target” audience.
He said the poignancy that swept through was enough to motivate him. “After all when one chooses a film to make, one has to live with it for almost a year, if not more. So one has to be fascinated by the subject.”
Dutta said that he was “moved” by Umrao’s story. “The emotional journey of this one character overwhelmed me. A common small town girl Amiran is abducted from her home and sold in the ‘bazaars’ of Lucknow. It so aptly fit with famed lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi’s telling lines, ‘Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko, mardon ne use bazaar diya’ (woman gave birth to man and man sold her on the streets).”
He said his version was different from the earlier three – ‘Mehndi’, ‘Zindagi Aur Tufan’, and the third ‘Umrao Jaan’ – though all four are based on Mirza Hadi Ruswa’s book titled ‘Umrao Jaan Ada’.
It was the third in which Rekha portrayed the role of the courtesan.
In the movie, Ash enacts the role of Umrao Jaan, Abhishek Bachchan portrays Nawab Sultan, “a Pathan, a rebel with a passion for beauty and poetry” and Shabana Azmi plays ‘khanum’, Dutta said.
‘Umrao Jaan’ is scheduled to release on October 20, 2006.