Umrao Jaan sequel in the offing

Mumbai: Makers of the Rekha-starrer 1981 film `Umrao Jaan`, are contemplating to make a sequel to the original film.

`Umrao Jaan`, which was directed by Muzaffar Ali, was based on the Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905), written by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. The film was based on the life of famous Lucknow courtesan. Rekha`s performance as the central character in the film had won her first National Award.

Now, director Muzaffar Ali and one of the writers of the film Javed Siddiqui are contemplating to make a sequel. "We have two story ideas that we are working on. One apparently has nothing to do with `Umrao Jaan` but the film is set in the same period…it is about aftermath of first freedom struggle. The other idea is to have a sequel to `Umrao Jaan`," writer Javed Siddiqui told PTI.

"As in the end we have shown that she (Rekha) comes to her kotha and we haven`t shown what is going to happen to her in the English regime, how she behaves and what happens to her. So we have a story in which we have Umrao Jaan as an older and more mature person… so this can be shown. But we don`t know if this would happen or not," he said.

It is the producer-director Muzaffar Ali, who would take a final call in this matter. "We have started working on both the scripts. Both the options (scripts) are good. I think the decision should happen in few days as to whether we would go with the new story line or a sequel," Siddiqui said.

In 2006, filmmaker J P Dutta had come out with the remake of `Umrao Jaan` with Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan in the lead roles. However, the film had failed miserably at the box office.

Siddiqui, who has written hit movies like Shahrukh Khan-starrer `Baazigar` (1993) and `Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge` (1995), says, even though the story moves ahead in the sequel, he is not in favour of Rekha being a part of the film. "If we show Rekha in a cameo after almost 30 years, the beauty and spell that she had created is going to be marred. So I don`t think and even I won`t advice that Rekha should be in any kind of cameo in the film. Nobody would like to have an old and hassled `Umrao Jaan`," Siddiqui said.

"`In Umrao Jaan`, it was about beauty incarnated and all of sudden now you see her with age…we can try other girls..there are fantastic actresses today," he said.

The veteran writer is all praises for the original cast – Farooq Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah and Rekha. "Nasir, Farooq, Rekha gave fantastic performances, so the performance now has to be of the same calibre and stature. Whatever we churn out has to be better," Siddiqui said.