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February 27, 2002
Three Walls beckon Juhi
Manju Latha Kalanidhi
Hyderabad's Musheerabad Jail is an imposing, if melancholic, structure.
An armed guard lets you inside though a tiny, three-foot green wooden door that is a fraction of the actual main door.
The shriek of a whistle catches you unawares. A gruff voice roars: "Don't move, the shoot is on."
The next two minutes are absolutely silent. The breeze is calm. Then, the young set manager blows his whistle and announces on his wireless set "Over."
Clad in designer jeans, a printed tee and a baseball cap, director Nagesh Kukunoor comes out. He is sporting a pencil-thin moustache and fidgeting with it awkwardly. He also has a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) in his hand.
Explaining the reason for the call for silence, Kukunoor says, "Three Walls is being shot in sync --- the dialogues and the sound are recorded on the spot to retain the natural ambience."
The next shot is canned with Juhi and Jackie. The scene requires Juhi to pose probing questions to Jackie, Naseeruddin Shah and fellow inmates. The chirpy star plays a journalist in the film. In a crisp white cotton sari and light lipstick, Juhi looks stunning.
Enter Malli, the docile inmate who looks up to Naseer as his mentor. He is talking in a hushed tone just as Juhi enters.
"Cut!" cries out Kukunoor.
Aditya Lakhia of Lagaan (he played Kachra, the untouchable), plays Malli. He also featured inJo Jeeta Wohi Sikander and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.
He dusts off his white khadi shorts and numbered uniform and settles down for a chat. "I am one of the inmates and though I play a crucial role in the film, my interaction with pretty Juhi is minimal," he rues.
He continues, "I had a wonderful time shooting for Lagaan."
Aditya recalls how his days of struggle came to an end after Lagaan hit bullseye. "Today, I have a secretary and meaty roles on hand." He will be seen next in Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost with Abhishek Bachchan and Karisma Kapoor. "While Abhishek will shoot 75 days for the film, I shoot for 73 days," he says, happily.
As for Three Walls, "Nagesh saw me in Lagaan and asked me if I would like to play a convict in his forthcoming Hinglish film. I loved the script and accepted it."
Ask him about the film and Aditya runs you through the story in one-line. "Three Walls is all about three criminals and their interaction with a pretty scribe keen on filming their lives."
The spot boy informs Aditya, "Shot ready hai." Aditya dusts off his clothes, stubs the tobacco roll and walks away morosely, suddenly transformed into a grim convict.
The camera rolls. This time we are herded politely towards the exit. The armed guard once again obliges by opening the huge door and letting you out. "See you," we say.
"Please don't come back again. This is a jail," the guard quips.
India News Feature Service
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