Devdas is being remade again — this time, in Pakistan, by producer Nadeem Sha and veteran Pakistani director, Iqbal Kashmiri. Music is by Vajahat Atrye and is arranged by Uttam Singh.
The songs for the film will be sung by Indian singers, including Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Kavita Krishnamurthy and Alka Yagnik. The film will star Nadeem as Devdas and Reema as Chandramukhi. The role of Paro is yet to be finalized.
Says Sonu, who was about to start Riyaaz for the song recording when we called him; “Uttamji asked me to sing a song”.
This is not the first time I will be singing for a Pakistani film. I have sung before for many others when India and Pakistan were not on good terms with each other.
In those days, my name would not appear on the credits; instead, the name Sunny Amjad would be used.”
Did he sing for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas (2002), starring Shahrukh, Jackie Shroff, Aishwarya and Madhuri Dixit? “I had sung Sheeshe se sheesha takraye, but I don’t think Sanjay Leela Bhansali liked my voice, because he dubbed it with someone else without telling me.
At least with Pakistan’s Devdas, I know for sure they will never dub my voice with someone else’s without informing me,” says the singer.
Says producer-actor Nadeem Sha, “Initially I was only to produce the film, but Iqbalji wanted me to play the role (he bears an uncanny resemblance to Shahrukh Khan).
He didn’t have the time to hunt around for a new actor, nor did he want an established face.” For Paro’s role, he says, “If we don’t get an actress from Pakistan, we will take someone from Hindustan.”
The film will not be a total remake of Bhansali’s Devdas.
“It will be different from Bhansali’s Devdas. There are certain songs and scenes which we will remove. There will be a Meera bhajan in the film, sung by Shreya Ghoshal. Certain scenes too have been changed,” informs Nadeem.
The budget for Devdas is whopping by Pakistani standards — Rs 10 to 15 crore. The music took a year-and-a-half to compose. “The total cost of recording has taken what would have been the budget of a Pakistani film.
So one can understand at what level we are making it. It will have the grandeur and lavishness of Sajay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas. Pakistan has lots of beautiful havelis in Bhagalpur and Lahore, where we will shoot.” A majority of the shooting will be done in Pakistan and the remaining in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Devdas is about a man who becomes an alcoholic. Isn’t that against the religion of Pakistan, which forbids alcohol? “No, because Devdas was a Hindu character and not a Muslim. Also, he was from a different country.
Jis mulk ka hai ussi ki kahani hai. And he is just a character, so why should people mind? In films, one can play any character,” says Kashmiri.