Vishal Bhardwaj to Direct Opera in Paris

Aditi Khanna/ London
Vishal Bhardwaj to Direct Opera in Paris

Filmmaker and music composer Vishal Bhardwaj has been chosen to direct an opera based on an Indian folk tale in Paris.

'A Flowering Tree', composed by award-winning musician John Adams, is based on a story by A K Ramanujan and will open in Paris in May 2014.

"I am really excited about this new challenge. There are plans for the opera to tour around the world after its Paris season," Bhardwaj said here yesterday.

Plans to convert his last Bollywood release, 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola', into a stage musical are also in the pipeline for next year.

In London to receive the Excellence in Cinema Award from the South Asia Cinema Foundation (SACF), the filmmaker confirmed his next cinematic project as an adaptation of 'Hamlet' - shooting for which will kick off in November for its release to coincide with the 450th birth anniversary celebrations of Shakespeare in 2014.

His third and final instalment based on the world-famous English playwright's tragedies, after 'Maqbool' (Macbeth) and 'Omkara' (Othello), will be set against the backdrop of strife-torn Kashmir and Shahid Kapur has been confirmed for the lead role of Hamlet.

"Hamlet is Kashmir – 'to be or not to be'. I have made things difficult for myself but I thought for my trilogy let me at least attempt something bigger than me," he said.

"After doing 'Maqbool' and 'Omkara', I took a break from Shakespeare because I didn't want to become branded as someone who can only adapt Shakespeare. I wanted to look within me and see what kind of films I want to make. It has now been more than six years since the last one and the time has come for me to complete my trilogy," he explains.

"I still believe I can live my life making films on Shakespeare’s work, which are so unique, timeless and boundary-less. I can adapt any of his works into any time period – past, present or even futuristic," he added.

A special screening of 'Omkara' at the British Film Institute was followed by the SACF awards ceremony.

"Past recipients of the SACF award have included filmmakers like Shyam Benegal and Gulzar and for me to be counted in that same breath is a huge honour. Artistes put all their emotions out there and it is always nice to be appreciated," said Bhardwaj in reference to his latest award.

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