‘RAQS…’ set 20 years after ‘Umrao Jaan': Muzaffar Ali
New Delhi: Muzaffar Ali, who gave Bollywood ‘Umrao Jaan’ three-decades ago, is making a big screen comeback with ‘RAQS – The Dance Within’, which is set 20 years after the Rekha-starrer.’Umrao Jaan’, set during the revolt of 1857, narrated the story of a famous courtesan. His next would also focus on the life of a revolutionary dancer.
The film was shot in Lucknow and at director’s hometown Kotwara. It will hit theatres next year.
The director, who has also designed the look of the film with wife Meera, says he has an affinity with the period setting.
“‘Raqs’ is set in 20 years after ‘Umrao Jaan’ that is 1877. I always like to delve into the past to look at the future. I shot the film in our house,” Ali told PTI in an interview.
The dance sequences in the film have been choreographed by Kathak exponent Pandit Birju Maharaj, whose earlier work in films include ‘Devdas’ and more recently ‘Dedh Ishqiya’.
Dance dramas like ‘Rajjo’ and ‘Aaja nachle’ have not been very successful at the box office but Ali is unfazed by that.
“I don’t understand the box-office ratings. These days almost every film crosses 100 crore and forms a new ‘crore-club’ at the box-office.
“People often say after coming out of the theatre that the film is not worth watching a single time but still it does a good business. Whereas, there are films which are good and run for a long time but they don’t earn. So, I don’t understand the business,” Ali said.
The director has roped in stylist and costume designer Pernia Qureshi for the film as he wanted his leading lady to be a good dancer.
“Pernia is different. I needed a strong dancer and at the same time a fresh face. She really danced her life out into the film. She did a very good job of a revolutionary dancer,” Ali said.
Pakistani heartthrob Imran Abbas, who is making his Bollywood debut with Bipasha Basu in ‘Creature 3D’, plays the male lead in the movie.