December 9, 2002 
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Suniel Shetty, Amitabh Bachchan
When will Kaante release?
Are differences between the film's makers cause for the delay?

Subhash K Jha

A few days after director Sanjay Gupta declared that his long awaited crime caper Kaante would 'definitely' release on December 13, the Amitabh Bachchan-Sanjay Dutt-Lucky Ali-Kumar Gaurav-Suniel Shetty-Mahesh Manjrekar starrer has once again been stalled, presumably for another week.

Distributors are most aggrieved by this delay. A fresh chain of theatres equipped with Dolby sound is not easy to book at a time when films are stockpiled for neck to neck release in coming weeks. Most distributors booked a chain of theatres at least six times this year already only to be told the film has been postponed.

Kaante may finally see the light of day on December 20. Gupta is uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the latest postponement. "All I can say is I had nothing to do with the latest postponement. I have no say in the matter," he says.

According to some sources, the film's international coproducer Raju Patel had promised to deliver the prints of Kaante on December 20 from Los Angeles all along. There are rumours about differences between director Gupta and the film's national and international producers, Pritish Nandy and Patel. None of the parties involved are willing to comment on record.

At least three of the actors in Kaante -- Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty -- decided to forego their remuneration since the film went over budget by 40 per cent.

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If Kaante finally shows up on December 20, it will joust with debutant Shaad Ali's Saathiya, starring Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherji. Gupta is nonchalant about the change in competition. "I don't believe that two well made films cannot work on the same Friday. Didn't Gadar and Lagaan work on the same day? In fact, the competition will work to both films' advantage."

However, Yash Chopra's Yashraj Films, one of the producers of Saathiya, is open-minded about its release. The Chopras may decide to change the film's release date. The question is when will it then release? Suneel Darshan's Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor and Pooja Batra starrer Talaash and Madhur Bhandarkar's political drama Satta, starring Raveena Tandon, are confirmed for December 27.

Sanjay Dutt, Kumar Gaurav, Lucky Ali, Mahesh Manjrekar, Suniel Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan in Kaante The postponement of Kaante leaves the field clear on December 13 for two small-budget potboilers: Inder Kumar and Namrata Shirodkar's action flick Maseeha in which Suniel Shetty makes an extended guest appearance. Shetty says he has repeatedly requested the producers not to advertise Maseeha as his film though they have done just that. The second film slated for December 13 is the long delayed Naseeruddin Shah-Om Puri action comedy, Guru Mahaguru.

The beneficiaries of Kaante's postponement may be last week's releases: Indra Kumar's Rishtey and Harry Baweja's Karz: The Burden Of Truth. Both films will have a chance to gain further ground this week since Kaante won't be around to woo audiences.

Bravely enough, ad filmmaker Ram Madhvani's exposition on a crumbling marriage, Let's Talk featuring versatile Mumbai stage actor Boman Irani, had been scheduled on the same Friday as Kaante. "We will go ahead on December 13 as per schedule with our film, with or without Kaante," says Madhvani.


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