Mahesh Bhatt to shoot Muslim-Hindu love story in Pakistan
Raj Kumar Santoshi may have moved Lahore in his adaptation of the play ‘Jis Lahore Nahin Dekhya Woh Jamiya Nahin’ to Hyderabad, but filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt is all set to shoot an entire Bollywood film – a Hindu-Muslim love story – in Pakistan’s cultural capital.
The romance saga will star Pakistani singing sensation Noumad opposite an Indian girl who’s still to be finalised. The untitled film will be directed by Mohit Suri who had earlier made ‘Awaarapan’ – a small portion of which was shot in Lahore.
“It is a pre-partition ‘Titanic’. It’s a story of intense love between two culturally-crossed individuals during times of abject hatred. It’s the story of a Muslim boy who saves the Hindu girl from his own people and gives up his life in protecting her,” Bhatt told us.
“We’re introducing a new star from Pakistan and a completely new girl from Bharat (India). The Pakistani boy is Noumad, a singing sensation in his country,” said the filmmaker who has worked with quite a few Pakistani artists, including actress Meera in ‘Zeher’.
This would be the first Bollywood film to be shot entirely in Pakistan.
“We’ll, of course, shoot the entire film in Lahore since that’s where the film is located. We’ll be using their infrastructure and work force. The cultural secretary and the governor of Punjab have extended whole-hearted support to our film,” said Bhatt.
The director feels Pakistan can become a leading location for Bollywood.
“But first we must shed this Pak-phobia. It took me five years to create friendship across the border before we at Vishesh Films began to collaborate with Pakistan to make films. Such things cannot happen overnight.
“I feel other filmmakers who shoot Pakistan-located films in India aren’t trying hard enough. They must be more open in their interaction across the border. To touch your dreams, you need to stretch more than just your hands,” he said.
The shooting of Bhatt’s ambitious India-Pakistan venture is set to start early next year.