'Mukhbiir' climax in a dilemma

May 2, 2007 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 2 (IANS) To live or to die. That is the dilemma hanging over the protagonist of "Mukhbiir" as the producer wants it one way and the director in another.

The dispute between the Hyderabad's animation expert Sudish Rambhotla, who is producing the espionage thriller, and director Mani Shankar is over the climax.

"Mukhbiir" is a slick two-hour cerebral espionage thriller about a 19-year-old government informer, played by Sammir Dattani, who changes his identity so often that he finally doesn't know who he is.

While Sammir dies at the end of the version shot by Shankar, Rambhotla thinks a downbeat ending for a protagonist who goes through untold stress and strife would put audiences off.

"Audiences would want to go home feeling the young boy has finally some hope of happiness in life. That's why I'd prefer a happy ending," Rambhotla told IANS.

It is Rambhotla's first feature film as a producer.

"We shot the film exactly the way I had visualised it. I see no reason to mar my vision at the end," argued Shankar.

The spy thriller's hero is game for both the endings.

Sammir said: "The film has shaped up so well, I don't mind either ending. In fact, we've shot both endings and I like both. I love my role in 'Mukhbiir'. And I'm in every frame. Whether my character lives or dies, I'm in almost every frame of the film."

"Mukbiir" isn't the first film to have shot two endings. Raj Kapoor and Mansoor Khan shot two endings for "Bobby" and "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" respectively. While the former opted for a happy conclusion, the latter chose to end tragically.

More recently Vipul Shah had two endings for "Aankhen" and its two versions were screened in India and internationally.

Ram Gopal Varma went even further. He shot two different versions for Jijy Philips' directorial debut "My Wife's Murder" - in one Anil Kapoor had murdered his screen wife Suchitra Krishnamoorthy. In the other he hadn't. Both were supposed to be released as separate films in separate theatres. Finally, better sense prevailed and Varma went with just one conclusion.

As the release date approaches it remains to be seen which way "Mukhbiir" goes.

"I haven't played a character who dies at the end. It's believed that films where heroes die are frequently hits. Cases in point...Rajesh Khanna in 'Anand' and 'Namak Haraam', Amitabh Bachchan in 'Deewaar' and Shah Rukh Khan in 'Devdas'," said Sammir.

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