Nair, Varma sort out 'Lolita' confusion

Oct 4, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Oct 4 (IANS) Controversial director Shashilal Nair is making "Lolita", a film topically similar to Ram Gopal Varma's upcoming "Nishabd" but he was quick to sort out matters with Varma and avoid later disputes.

"I didn't want Ramu to think of me as a 'me-too'," said Nair, whose "Lolita" has Jackie Shroff in the main lead.

Confirming the news, Varma told IANS: "Yes, Shashilal Nair called me up. However, I want to clarify that 'Nishabd' has nothing to do with 'Lolita'. Ever since the news came out, I'm flooded with SMS messages.

"One tells me, 'Finally you've come out of the clichés.' Another says, 'You'll completely ruin Lolita', but 'Lolita' is not my immediate inspiration. Any film about an older man and a young girl is bound to look like 'Lolita'."

Nair is forthright and wary of controversies.

"Please ... I don't want to be in another controversy. I have had enough of them. I just want to make another film after a long time. People have already started making comments about how after 'Ek Choti Si Love Story' (where a teenaged boy is infatuated with an older woman), I'm making a reversed story about a middle-aged man (Jackie Shroff) and a 15-year-old girl," said Nair.

"I've even titled it 'Lolita'. The girl who plays the lead is a new actress Pallavi, whom I selected after auditioning 40-50 young girls."

The long-in-hibernation director wants to make it clear that his version of the story came long before Varma announced his film.

"The moment I read his announcement, I ran to Ramu. He told me he isn't making 'Lolita'. Both our films are in the same genre. I wanted to keep it under wraps until I completed the film.

"Ramu's project is a huge Rs.200 million Bachchan project. Mine is a small Rs.20 million project. It won't be in good taste if I launched a quickie version while the original was in production.

"I wanted Ramu to know I've already started my 'Lolita'. Had it been someone else, I would have not explained. I respect and admire Ramu. And now he's coming into a genre that isn't his."

Nair denies his "Lolita" would be sexually explicit.

"The theme is bold. But there's no need for sex. It's an intense love story. It's the plight of a man trapped in a hopeless romance. I think 'Lolita' is the greatest love story ever.

"Jackie feels it's the only film with which he can make a comeback. He's at the right age to play this role. We've worked together several times and now we want to create magic together."

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