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October 10, 2001

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Kaante, Aankhen: Partners in crime

Subhash K Jha

Two under-production crime capers scheduled for release next year are full of similarities -- from similar sounding names to a cast led by the legendary Amitabh Bachchan.

Gujarati theatre director Vipul Shah's Aankhen and Sanjay Gupta's Kaante cast Bachchan in near-identical roles.

In Kaante, being shot in Los Angeles, Bachchan plays a retired army officer who trains a group of mercenaries -- Sanjay Dutt, Kumar Gaurav, Sunil Shetty, screen debutant singer Lucky Ali and director Mahesh Manjrekar -- to pull off a daring bank heist.

Like most of Gupta's earlier films -- his last release Jung was a remake of Desperate Measures -- Kaante is inspired by a Hollywood film: Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.

The film is being shot at a breakneck pace in LA with an all-Hollywood crew. Because of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington last month, the shooting of Kaante had slackened. But the crew hopes to return home on schedule in the third week of October.

Aankhen (earlier entitled All The Best) features Bachchan as a retired bank manager who trains a group of outcasts (Akshay Kumar, Arjun Rampal and Sushmita Sen) to rob a bank.

That's not all. Shringar Films is distributing both films in Bombay. Shravan Shroff of Shringar Films finds nothing unusual or alarming about two similar movies racing to the finish line.

Even though they are adapted from different sources (Aankhen from a Gujarati play, Kaante from a Hollywood film) the resemblance between these two films runs more than skin deep.

Both were to originally feature Raveena Tandon in the female lead. While she was inexplicably dropped from Aankhen and replaced by Sushmita Sen, Raveena had to beg off Kaante because of her packed schedule.

Vipul Shah's film, replete with songs romance and dances, is probably more Indian than Kaante. And it will have the advantage of being first off the block at the box-office. Aankhen is scheduled for release in early 2002 while Kaante is unlikely to hit the theatres before the middle of the year.

Indo-Asian News Service

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