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Kamal Sadanah on remaking <i>Victoria No. 203</i>

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By: Screen Weekly, IndiaFM
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
What prompted you to remake your father's 1972 hit Victoria No. 203 now after 35 years?
It was my inherent desire to remake Victoria No. 203 because it has a tremendous remake potential owing to its fast-paced, character-based and not star-driven script. Furthermore it is a comedy. These are exciting times when the audience is open to new experiments. The time is just right to take the plunge!

Since it is your home-production, there was no question of acquiring remake rights. But did you consult the surviving cast and crew members before relaunching it?
Even before we started scripting, I sought blessings of all those who were associated with the original. Pransahab and Navin Nischol from the original cast even graced the launch. The original music was scored by Kalyanji-Anandji so I thought as their successor I had to approach Viju Shah. I am even getting Amit Kumar to sing Do bechare... since it was originally sung by his dad Kishore Kumar.

To what extent are you rehauling your Victoria?
We aren't veering away from the original premise, we will only be changing the packaging, sequencing and some characters like that of villain Anwar Hussain's - he will be an eccentric old man played by Javed Jaffrey. While the rest of the cast remains more or less the same - with Om Puri for Pran, Anupam Kher - Ashok Kumar, Jimmy Sheirgill- Navin Nischol, Amrita Arora - Saira Banu.

Any particular reason for selecting Annant Mahadevan as the director?
We just vibed well right from our first meeting. He has a great comic timing as a maker and he could also understand my vision of the remake. It was a meeting of the minds.

From where are you procuring the Victoria for the shoot?
We are building a special single horse-driven Victoria. Manish Benani, the art director of Don is building the buggy for us. It has to be warm and cosy as opposed to the cold corporate milieu the film is set in. It must mass-connect. We are giving it technical finishing touches like attaching springs for loading the camera sans jerks.

How many times have you seen the original and which is your most favourite scene from the film?
I was only one when the film was released. But since then I have watched it over a 1000 times. I love the introductory scene where Pran sahab and Dadamoni are coming out of the jail and I also enjoy the scene where both of them are chucked into the ocean by the villain and then both of them untie each other - it is such a fabulously improvised scene.

Being the producer, aren't you casting yourself in the film?
I may be doing a key role in the film. Of late I have been getting a lot of offers to play negative roles. Perhaps I will act in one of those up after my film is completed. I just love being around the camera in any capacity.

Have you ridden the Victoria yourself?
(Chuckles) Not in recent times but very often as a teenager to impress my dates!

Old-timers are of the opinion that classics should remain on the pedestal, what is your take on that?
My intention in remaking Victoria is recreate that magic and fun. But it would certainly be a challenge to achieve the same level of entertainment.

(Kamal Sadanah, actor-turned-filmmaker visited film festivals with his maiden production Karkash and now he is remaking his father Brij Sadanah's Victoria No. 203.)

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