Bollywood wants more of Laden


Express July 27, 2010

Rumours are afoot that there are more films in the pipeline that will feature the Osama Bin Laden lookalike in Tere Bin, played by theatre actor Pradhuman Singh.

The success of the desi Laden in India has taken the filmmakers by surprise. Director Abhishek Sharma admits creating a franchise out of the Laden character is an idea being explored especially since the humour on Laden has been taken in the right spirit. He told The Express Tribune, “The film is working and has done very well in India but there is no definite decision as yet, but it is definitely it is an interesting concept. It is too early to have anything in the pipeline as yet, and right now I cannot confirm or deny anything.”

Pradhuman Singh told IANS: “It would depend entirely on the writing. Abhishek Sharma, who is almost like a childhood buddy, has worked hard to bring the idea alive of a poor Laden lookalike who creates a global stir. Now to carry the idea forward without seeming to simply cash in on a successful formula, we need a script that is as funny if not funnier.” His thoughts were echoed by Sharma, who said, “The film just released 10 days ago, but if a script with a good concept is brought in then maybe a sequel might be made.”

Pradhuman Singh, who had given up acting entirely, never thought he could pull  it off.  “When Abhishek suggested I play a character that is mistaken for Laden, I was zapped. I had never even remotely thought I resembled Laden. But now that the character has been liked, I don’t mind playing him again,” said Pradhuman.

“I’ve gotten so used to being dressed as Laden/Noora; I had almost forgotten what I really look like. I’d wake up in the morning without make-up and wonder who the stranger in the mirror was. We got a really good make-up artist, Vikram Gaekwad, to do my ‘Osama’ makeup.” The makeover was so complete and convincing even those closest to Pradhuman Singh were fooled.

“But in spite of being constantly dressed as Osama, I suffer from no identity crisis. As a trained actor from the National School of Drama, I can get in and out of character without missing a beat,” he says.

The talented actor is heading to Delhi to celebrate the success of Tere Bin with his family after which he will return to Bollywood to start his acting career.

Tere Bin is not the first Bollywood film to be made into a franchise, in fact remaking iconic Indian films and producing sequels of recent hits is a sure shot way to success.

Bollywood has remade films like Don and Sholay, and has ventured into sequels with Munna Bhai MBBS, which had a successful sequel but plans for a third film - which was titled Munna Bhai Chale Amreeka - have been put on the backburner.

Dhoom is being turned into a franchise as well, which stars A-list actors such as Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. Singh is Kinng, starring Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Ranvir Shorey, Om Puri and Neha Dhupia, will also see a new film. Even Dostana, the romantic comedy starring Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, is getting the sequel treatment with a new female lead: Katrina Kaif.

Bachchan also starred in Sarkar and the sequel, Sarkar Raj, but director Ram Gopal Varma has shelved plans for a third film.

With additional information from IANS

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2010.

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