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Ramu's <i>Lolita</i> revealed

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ram Gopal Varma has completed the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Nishabd at a hush-hush shoot in south India in 20 days. The film is said to be based on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita and will have a September release.

Nishabd also stars Revathy, Rukhsar and Aftab Shivdasani. An exclusive sneak peek into Ramu's Lolita and Nishabd...

How did you meet Jiah?
A year ago, a builder introduced Jiah to me. I was struck by her, then, as she seemed to have that certain something, but I didn't have any project on hand, to cast her. She told me she had been selected to do a Mahesh Bhatt film but the film didn't happen. I didn't ask her why. Then about more than three months ago, she came to meet me.

How did Nishabd happen?
I had Mr Bachchan's dates and we were discussing various scripts and story ideas. One day, I told him a storyline about an older man falling in love with a younger girl. He was excited, but he asked me 'what about the girl'? The first name that popped up in my mind was Jiah.

Mr Bachchan is a megastar and I wanted somebody totally new to create that trauma and make her grow in his eyes. Jiah is exactly in real-life like the character she plays in Nishabd - sensuous and of today's generation.

Is Nishabd a complete adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita?
Nishabd is not at all an adaptation of Lolita. That's a misconception. It's an original story conceived and written by me.

What's Nishabd about?
It's an intense love story between an older man (Amitabh Bachchan) and a younger girl (Jiah Khan). Bodies age, but feelings don't.

Older men get attracted to and fall in love with younger girls but because of their position and maturity, cannot do anything. It's the story of a man caught between his rationality and the strength of his feelings towards her.

There is a popular perception that Nishabd has lot of steamy scenes between Bachchan and Jiah.

That's not true. The thought is erotic and there is a strong undercurrent of sexuality, but it has not been done at the expense of putting Mr Bachchan in a demeaning light.

There are no sexually explicit scenes.

Jiah Facts

Ramu is launching 18-year old Jiah Khan, who had earlier been finalised for Anuraag Basu's Tumsa Nahin Dekha, but had bailed out of the film. The role went to Dia Mirza.

In between shots, she plays chess with Amitabh.

She has done A levels in Film Studies and Literature in London.

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