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Ash essays her life in Provoked

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2006, 13:42 [IST]

By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Producer-director Jagmohan Mundhra's Provoked, starring Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das, Miranda Richardson and Naveen Andrews, was to release five months ago. But there's still no sign of the film.

The latest from the camp is that the film is set for a July or August release. We quizzed Jag about the delay...

Why has Provoked been delayed?
We got the first copy only in the first week of March. Provoked will be premiering for the world media at Cannes, on May 18. Lee Daniels and Associates, the marketing company of the film, have a proper strategy planned out for the release. It is a deliberate decision to give the film a profile, build it up and then release it. We aim to release Provoked in July or August.

Is Ash happy with the film?
She hasn't seen the film as yet. Ash has committed to come to Cannes on May 18 and 19, and be there for the film's publicity.

Any intimate scenes in Provoked?
There are no intimate scenes in Provoked, not even a kiss. I know my reputation precedes me, but this time the film doesn't deal with sexuality at all. It's about female bonding. It's been adapted from Kiranjit Ahluwalia and Rahila Gupta's (journalist) novel, Circle of Light, based on Karanjit's life as a victim of marital abuse, who killed her husband and was sent to jail.

Why did you make Provoked? What inspired me to make a film on her was when she was asked in jail how she felt. She said, 'I feel free'. It was such a telling statement.

Then a small motley of under-funded social workers, the Southhall Black Sisters, took on the British judicial system with sheer grit and got Kiranjit released from a life sentence through their protests and rallies.

Have you shown the film to Kiranjit?
No, but I have been speaking to her frequently. Kiranjit came for the wrap party (the last day of the shoot) in London, to meet Ash. Her two children are big fans of Ash and wanted to meet her. Currently, Kiranjit lives in Slough and works for the Royal Mail in the same job her husband had.

You had a special trial for the minister of health?
Yes. We had a screening for her and other ministers involved in the investment. The UK Film Council isn't the sole investor. Provoked is considered a complete British film. Patricia was earlier the Minister of Culture and started the Bollywood initiative. Provoked is a mainstream British film, meant for the English-speaking audience, so naturally, they wanted to see the film.

Any plans for Cannes?
We are waiting to unveil Provoked at Cannes, then sell the film to the international market. There has to be a proper marketing campaign, which Lee Daniels and Associates has planned out.

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