Javed Akhtar — who wrote Mr India with his then writing partner Salim Khan — is not impressed by Shekhar Kapur’s condemnation of Zee Network and Director Ali Abbas Zafar’s plans to turn his 1987 classic Mr India into a franchise.
Shekhar Kapur had tweeted, ‘No one has even asked me or mentioned to me about this film called Mr India 2. I can only guess that they using the title to get a big weekend. For they cannot use the characters/story without permission from the original creators of the film.’
“Today, Shekhar Kapur is offended because no one has consulted him about this new project. Why should they?” Javed Akhtar asks Subhash K Jha.
“They may or may not be morally bound to inform the people involved with the original film, but they are not legally bound to do so. And where was his sense of creative outrage when he had disregarded the bound script of Mr India that we had given to him and Boney Kapoor? Shekhar chose to do his own thing back then. Today when other people are doing the same, he is upset.”
In an interview with Subhash some years ago, Shekhar Kapur had said, “It was an idea brought to me by Boney Kapoor based on a script that Salim-Javed had written. I never read that script. I am 100 per cent sure that what we made finally was very different from what Salim-Javed had written originally. I never saw that original Salim-Javed script, which I believe had been conceived for Amitabh Bachchan.”
“As for what you saw on screen in Mr India, the scenes were written as we were filming. There was a constant improvisation on the sets,”” Kapur had said then.
“Do you know that Mogambo was written after we started shooting? We knew there would be a goofy villain, who’d have to go beyond Daga and Teja. But we didn’t know who or what it would be. Javed Akhtar was struggling to create a new kind of villain. Mogambo was born as we were filming, just like ideas like Sridevi going into the villain’s den dressed up as Charlie Chaplin,” Kapur had said.
Shekhar has vehemently opposed the idea of a sequel. In an earlier interview with Subhash, he said, “I don’t know what is happening with that project or what Boney Kapoor’s plans are. I was never going to direct the sequel. With Amrish Puriji and Sridevi no more, the question doesn’t arise.”
Javed Akhtar is open to the idea of carrying the Mr India characters forward.
“I can’t say what they have in mind. They haven’t approached me or asked for my opinion. Until I know what they plan to do with the characters, I can’t comment on it,” Javed Akhtar says.
As far as moving ahead with Mr India without Amrish Puri and Sridevi is concerned, Akhtar says, “That’s not so impossible. Every James Bond film has its own heroine and villain. Like I said, it all depends what they do with the characters.”