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Rediff.com  » Movies » Why Saif is edgy

Why Saif is edgy

June 12, 2003 17:01 IST

The buzz is that Twentieth Century Fox India, which is based in Mumbai, has been approached by several Bollywood production companies to make a Hindi version of the Hollywood thriller, Phone Booth.

Colin Farrell in Phone BoothWhen rediff.com contacted Fox India's managing director Aditya Shastri, he said, "Yes, we have been approached." But he refused to disclose the names of the Indian production companies involved or the American films for which they have shown an interest.

Shastri added that Fox is considering the unspecified proposals and will need three to six months to come to a decision.

Apparently, Saif Ali Khan is being considered for the lead role essayed by Irish actor Colin Farrell (Minority Report, The Recruit). "I have heard rumours, but nobody has approached me directly," said Khan, who is now shooting for Ram Gopal Varma's Ek Haseena Thi. The film, which is a Varma production in collaboration with Fox, is being directed by Shriram Raghavan and stars Urmila Matondkar and Khan in a negative role.

The idea of working in a remake doesn't exactly thrill the 32-year-old actor. "The American film [Phone Booth] is so recent and famous. Most of the people I know would rather just see the original," he said.

Khan's initial success came with Naresh Malhotra's Yeh Dillagi (Akshay Kumar, Kajol), a remake of Billy Wilder's Sabrina. "Yeh Dillagi was changed quite a lot and was just very well done," he argued. "I get a bit edgy when [the remakes] are so recent. It's not very creative, is it?"

Saif Ali Khan in Ek Haseena ThiPhone Booth was originally scheduled to open in November 2002, but was delayed because the plot bore uncanny similarities to the sniper shootings in Maryland and Virginia at that time.

Directed by Joel Schumacher (A Time To Kill, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin) and written by Larry Cohen, Phone Booth is a thriller about an unsuspecting everyman (Farrell) who becomes a pawn in a madman's game when he answers the call in the wrong phone booth.

With a budget of just $13 million, Phone Booth was filmed in 11 days. The critically acclaimed thriller grossed an unexceptional $15 million in its first weekend in the US. It grossed $26.6 million after 10 days of release and is expected to earn nearly $50 million domestically.

Gavin O'Malley, a graduate student of business journalism at City University of New York, is spending six weeks at rediff.com.

Gavin O'Malley