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"The Last Hurrah" in film form

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Mumbai (UNI): The Last Hurrah, a book by Shrikant Murthy, a city-based author, on the life of K Venkatesh, a young chess player who was afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), is being made into a feature film Main Phir Aaunga. Venkatesh died in Hyderabad in December 2004. While the young man was in his last stages, his mother appealed to Hyderabad High Court for mercy killing so that she could fulfill her son's last wishes of donating his vital body parts to the needy ones. However, even as the case was debated and was heard in the court of law, the young man breathed his last. In his death he left behind a lasting image of himself on the canvas of time.

In The Last Hurrah, Shrikant Murthy has recounted the absorbing saga of two ordinary persons - a mother and son, who under the most adverse circumstances, led a meaningful life and eternally strived to serve some little purpose in life. The book published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was released in Hyderabad on May 9, 2004 at the hands of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. The book received some rave reviews and is being sold all over India and in all English-speaking countries. Dinanath Kolambkar of Rameshwar Divya Films has obtained filming rights from the young man's mother and from the writer of the book.

The feature film in Hindi, is titled Mein Phir Aaunga (I Will Be Back), a punch line the young Venkatesh often kept saying. Shreyas Talpade (Iqbal fame) and actress Moushumi Chatterjee have been signed to portray the most challenging roles of the young man Venkatesh and his mother Sujatha, respectively. The movie will be directed by Krishnakanth Pandya (who earlier directed Panaah, Bedardi and forthcoming Kyonki Hum Deewane Hain). Khayyam will score the music for the film.

Executive producers of the film, Lawrence-Manohar plan to shoot the film in Mumbai and Hyderabad in the next couple of months and propose to release the movie by the end of this year. According to producer Dinanath Kolambkar, mercy killing is an universal issue. Besides, he adds, that the brave story is a tear jerker that moves from sorrow to sorrow and yet alleviate viewers' minds in the end. It is a film that strives to uphold universal human values not only to be seen but to be experienced collectively by men, women and children alike.

In a similar case, being in a vegetating state for 15 years, Terry Schiavo of USA, died in Florida in March 2005. The cases cited above have engendered a debate on the ethics of euthanasia or mercy killing, like never before, he said.



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