'Mukhbiir' climax in a fix

Dec 7, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Dec 8 (IANS) Mani Shankar's "Mukhbiir", an intriguing espionage drama, is in a predicament. While producer Sudhish Rambhotla is adamant on a happy ending, the director feels the dark film and its doomed hero must perish.

"The 19-year-old hero goes through a series of truly tragic experiences when all he wants is a normal teenager's life. We must end on a note of hope. I've seen what has happened to recent films with tragic endings like Mani Ratnam's 'Yuva', Shivam Nair's 'Ahista Ahista' and Priyadarshan's 'Kyon Ki...'," Rambhotla told IANS.

"We're going through unhappy times. Audiences want a cathartic experience in the cinema hall. I don't want our fledgling film production company Color Chips to start on a depressed note," Rambhotla added.

Shankar explodes at the thought.

"A film must end logically, especially a film like 'Mukhbiir' which is a very authentic look at the workings of the government informers - young helpless boys who are picked up, trained, let loose in dangerous terrorist organisations as spies, and then eliminated at convenience," said Shankar.

"Though I've shot a happy ending at the producer's insistence, I squirm every time I look at it. This is a crucial film for me and for my hero Sammir Dattani, who has given what I think is a career-making performance. 'Mukhbiir' will make Sammir a major star. But for that we need to be reasonable in the conclusion."

At the moment the producer and director seem to have come to an impasse with both insisting on their viewpoint.

Leading man Sammir feels the director's vision to be correct.

"I think a film is the director's medium, and we should respect that," said Sammir.

The film is scheduled for a Diwali release next year and one hopes it manages to extricate itself from the fate of a frozen finale before that.

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