By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Friday, March 17, 2006
On March 14, Ajay Devgan threw a surprise Holi party for the cast and crew of Omkara (working title) at the Cliff Inn Hotel, Mahabaleshwar, and the revelry continued till 2 am the next day. In Mumbai, Devgan is rarely seen celebrating Holi. Though during the shooting of Prakash Jha's Gangaajal, he played Holi on the sets and fed everyone bhang ki golis and vodka-soaked rasmalais. So how did he decide to host a Holi party in Mahabaleshwar?
Says producer, Kumar Mangat, "Ajay is very happy that Omkara is getting completed on time and wanted to celebrate. He suddenly decided to have a party and organised it in a day."
Who was there?
"Ajay had invited the whole unit, which consisted of 350 people, including the cooks and lightmen. We ordered food from the restaurant, and there were lots of snacks and red and white wines. It was a great party.
It started from 9 pm and went on till 2 am. Almost the entire cast (except Naseeruddin Shah and Bipasha Basu) - including Saif, Kareena, Viveik, Konkona and other character artistes came and stayed on till late in the night.
Even my daughter, Amitabh and son, Abhishek came for the party. But in spite of the late night revelry, every unit member and cast was so professional that they promptly reported for shooting the next day, at 7 am, and completed an entire shift."
So what pranks did Devgan play this time? "This time there was no bhang, as we had to shoot the next day. But every person present was covered with gulel and thrown into the swimming pool, including Ajay himself."
And did they dance to Holi songs? "No we danced to all the six songs of Omkara." The film's music has been composed by Vishal Bharadwaj, and lyrics written by Gulzar.
The title of the film is still a matter of contention; director Vishal Bharadwaj is very keen on Omkara, Ajay Devgan is fixated on Issak (coming from the word ishq), while producer Mangat is still undecided between O Saathi Re and Issak.
But they are prepared for any eventuality. All the three title tracks have been recorded - Omkara, O saathi re and Issak - so whoever gets to the title of his choice will get the song to be played too.
A story of love, jealousy and deceit is set in rural India, this is Vishal Bharadwaj's interpretation of William Shakespeare's Othello.
The film has been shot in Pune, Satara, Wai, Lucknow and Allahabad.