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Vishal's 'free' wheeling film

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    By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
    Friday, March 23, 2007
    Cast and crew of Blood Brothers do the short film for free; Subhash Ghai also helps out

    Vishal Bhardwaj has just completed shooting his 12-minute short film on HIV/AIDS, called Blood Brothers, produced by the Bill Gates Foundation.

    Interestingly, right from his male lead, Siddharth (of Rang De Basanti fame) and leading lady Ayesha Takia to his director of photography Guillermo Navarro, set designer and costume designer - almost everyone working on the film is doing it for free.


    Says Vishal, "Guillermo Navarro came straight from the Oscars (he won this year for Best Cinematography for the Mexican film Pan's Labyrinth) to shoot Blood Brothers. He didn't charge a single rupee to shoot the film.

    In fact, Ayesha (Takia), Siddharth, my costume designer Dolly Ahluwalia, set designer Samir Chanda and several others too are working for free."

    Vishal adds that Blood Brothers is a very expensive film, as they shot in 19 locations in eight days. "A lot of money was spent on locations and travelling.

    I am obligated to Subhash Ghai, who allowed us to shoot at his film institute Whistling Woods, else we would have taken 11 days to shoot.

    He never allows anybody to shoot there, but he offered this on his own when we came to know about the project. I found this very encouraging.

    Subhashji loved Omkara and had called me to lecture at his institute. It's a dream come true for any student to study there," he says.

    Happy encounters

    Blood Brothers is the story of two men who discover they've been infected with HIV due to a shocking change in their circumstances and the impact it has on their lives.

    "Blood Brothers is a thriller with a masala element made in a commercial format.

    The Bill Gates Foundation contacted me through Mira (Nair) to make a short film on HIV/AIDS, apart from Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar.

    Blood Brothers is the working title and my associate directors Abhishek Choubey, Supratik Sen, Ajit Ahuja and Chetana have written the script.

    I didn't have the time to script it myself as I was writing dialogues for Mira's short film," says Vishal.

    The director is all praise for his actors. He says, "Siddharth is a brilliant actor. When I called him for Blood Brothers, he said yes without listening to story.

    It was very nice of him to shift the shooting of one of his Telegu films to come here and shoot for Blood Brothers. Ayesha too said she wanted to be part of the film and would do it for free."

    Working with Oscar winner Guillermo Navarro was a great experience. "I knew him through a common friend, Matthew Robins, who is scripting my next film.

    Apparently, he had seen Maqbool and loved it and agreed to do Blood Brothers. I love the thriller feel he gives to his films.

    He has worked in films like Jackie Brown, Desperado, Dusk Till Dawn and Stuart Little. I've learnt so much from him," he says.

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