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J.P. Dutta on film publicity

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By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Friday, September 15, 2006
Responding sharply to the reports that the Abhishek-Aishwarya link-up is part of the strategy to keep Umrao Jaan in the news, the film's director J.P. Dutta chortles dryly. "When have I ever bothered with marketing my films ? Do you know when my first film Ghulami was released there was just one hoarding in all of Mumbai? I don't think publicity itself helps a film. My Border had opened half-heartedly. It went on to be the biggest hit of my career so far. It's all destiny."

Among the unusual locations for Umrao Jaan the movie moghul chose a spot 40 miles away from Lucknow in a place called Mehmoodabad. "I needed a special palace to shoot these crucial scenes between my bachcha (Abhishek) and Ash. I think we've canned scenes that have given me great satisfaction. I don't even know how Umrao Jaan is making itself out. It's gone out of hands. There's some invisible force guiding me. You know, when I started shooting I had neither Abhishek's nor Ash's complete dates. Ash wondered how I'd do it. But look at how the schedules work themselves out. What is it, if not destiny?"

Stopping to ponder JP says, "Abhishek keeps telling me I need to get market savvy with this film. But I wouldn't know where to start. All I've done is made the film exactly the way I wanted. If I wanted I could've livened up LOC with fictional embellishments. But I had to be true to the story of the soldiers. I couldn't lie to their memory. Neither can I fool around with Umrao Jaan's story."

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