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Priyanka or Kareena - who will be Benegal's Carmen?

Posted by Mohan Desai On 11:27 AM

Mumbai, Jan 20 (IANS) Now that Shyam Benegal has decided to revive his costliest project "Chamki", a desi version of French musician Georges Bizet's 1875 opera "Carmen", the question is who will play the title role of a free-spirited fiery-tempered gypsy in the movie?
According to sources, Priyanka Chopra more than Kareena Kapoor is the natural choice to play Chamki since the role requires a trained dancer.
When contacted, Priyanka told IANS that she was open to the offer. "But I read the script ages ago. The whole project now has to be evaluated afresh. And who wouldn't want to work with Shyam Benegal?"
"Chamki" has been pending for a while. Earlier, the project was with Sanjay Gupta. Now, Big Pictures is producing the film.
In the past too, both Priyanka and Kareena were approached for "Chamki", but they opted out for various reasons.
"Kareena was excited to begin with. She was supremely charged by the role and what Benegal had done with her sister Karisma in 'Zubeidaa'. But then she opted out - as she often does from offbeat challenges like Deepa Mehta's 'Water' and Rituparno Ghosh's 'Raincoat' - pleading it was too early for her to attempt something so unconventional," said a source close to the project.
"Then came Priyanka who was quite kicked about the part, but she and the film's then producer Sanjay Gupta had a fallout after Priyanka said no to his 'Musafir'. The 'Chamki' role then went to Urmila Matondkar, who had monetary issues with the producer."
With the film changing producers, it is understood that money is no longer an issue.
While Priyanka is still interested in the project, Kareena's views were not yet known.
"Kareena continues to have reservations about non-mainstream cinema. Barring Pritish Nandy Communications' 'Chameli', she has never returned to non-mainstream cinema," said the source.
'Chamki', set in Rajasthan, is being re-designed as a big broad epic musical with choreography and lavish songs by Javed Akhtar and A.R. Rahman.

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