Will Kisna script Ghai’s future?

KisnaSubhash Ghai's Mukta Arts Limited is currently busy in getting things into place for the upcoming release of the Abbas-Mustan film, Aitraaz. But the company's long-term sights are set on Kisna: The Warrior Poet, Ghai's first directorial vehicle since the disastrous Yaadein. It promises to be the biggest and most ambitious of the 13 films the Bollywood showman has made in a
high-profile career spanning a quarter of a century.

"The film is currently in post-production," says Ravi Gupta, chief executive officer of Mukta Arts. "It will be released worldwide in December." Kisna, described by Ghai as a film "that has everything that makes an epic", has two separately shot versions - one three hours long for the domestic market, the other a 130-minute one for international consumption.

Says Gupta: "The cutting of the version meant for global distribution will be handled by a British editor so that it acquires the feel and pace of a Western film." That strategy is understandable for in Ghai's own words, Kisna is designed as an entertainer "for both Indian and international audiences." For Mukta Arts, the film represents an all-new thrust into the global marketplace. It is Ghai's first film that is Indian at heart and borderless in ambition. Will the twain meet in complete harmony?

"I was inspired to write the story of Kisna," says Ghai, "when I met a few British friends during my many visits to the UK over the last two decades. This was the generation of Englishmen who were in India or had spent parts of their lives serving the British Raj pre-1947… I met this group of British citizens who had amazing stories to tell us about India, about its magnificent culture, divine energies, great human values despite its diversities…"

Kisna: The Warrior Poet is a period film set against the scenic backdrop of Pauri Garhwal in the last days of British rule. A rustic young man, Kisna of the title, emerges as a hero for a beleaguered British family when it faces a major crisis. He wins the heart of an English girl, Katherine. Even as the girl's journey through those tumultuous times gives birth to "the most beautiful love story ever told", the plot throws up a third angle represented by an innocent native girl Luxmi, the daughter of Pauri Garhwal classical musician, who pines in selfless silence for the hero.