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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Submitted by Dibyaduti Purkayastha (Tipu)

The Return of the Thief of Bagdad
A 'desi' perspective

I had mentioned sometime ago abt Sabu's daughter writing a sequel to 'ToB' & the intention to turn it into a movie. So, L & G, here's the long-awaited sequel (fm the pages of our local rag India-West) ...

Daluvoy Takes Over Reins Of 'Thief of Baghad' Film

Special to India-West
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - At a July 7 reception at the Bombay Palace restaurant, Dr. Arjun Daluvoy formally announced that he has taken over production of The Return of the Thief of Baghad as executive director and already has made critical cast and crew changes.

Filming, based on a script by Jasmine Sabu which she adapted from her novel "Moonshadow: The Adventures of the Thief of Bagdad," had begun last year in India, with South Indian actor Chiranjeevi in the title role, Ramesh K. Sunder Swamy as producer, and Douchan Gersi as director.

Now that Daluvoy has taken over the reins, he has replaced Gersi with director Gordon Hessler, best known for his 1974 film, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, which featured the special effects of the late Ray Harryhausen.

Hessler will shoot an English version of the film targeting the international audience, while Suresh Krishna will direct the Indian version, which will adhere to the Bollywood formula of incorporating at least five Indian dances and songs into the plot.

In The Return of the Thief of Bagdad, Abu ventures to the kingdom of Basra, where he finds the princess and the Sultan besieged by the evil Prince Khalid, and sets about to free them from the evil wizard.

In addition to the original cast that included Jason Connery as Prince Khalid, veteran actors James Hong and Jeff Rector will join the line-up, with John Phillip Law in the role of the Sultan. Daluvoy is currently searching for an actress to play the female lead of the princess of Basran.

Daluvoy has also brought in scriptwriter Thomas Fucci to rewrite Sabu's script, retaining Sabu's characters and basic storyline, but with Sabu now to receive story credit. The budget has been set at $10 million, which has been raised through private funding.

Since Gérard Schurmann has been hired as music supervisor because of his Academy Award-winning work on Lawrence of Arabia and Exodus, Daluvoy also plans to market a CD featuring the soundtrack, but will release Indian and Arabic versions composed by A.R. Rahman.

Daluvoy is targeting an Arabic audience "so that the people from the Middle East, where the story comes from, will have the enjoyment of listening to the music in their own language," he explained to India- West.

At the reception, approximately four minutes of footage was shown featuring scenes Gersi had previously shot on location. The clip had been previewed at the American Film Market last February and the Cannes Film Festival in May.

"It was well-received in both markets," Daluvoy said, "and the PM Entertainment company has picked up the film for international distribution." Meanwhile, domestic distribution remains under negotiation.

Filming on the new production will begin in August, with Academy Award nominee Richard H. Kline as director of cinematography, with sound under the supervision of Val Kuklowsky, whose previous work includes Independence Day and Stargate.

The Indian-owned Pentafour company will be handling the film's special effects under the supervision of John Herndon, who is said to have worked on M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense and the recent Academy Award-winning film American Beauty.

Daluvoy, along with Usha Raja as associate producer and Chandra Khetani as production associate, hopes to release the film in the spring of 2001.

"We have assembled top talent from Hollywood, and we expect this film to be a major box office hit," Daluvoy said. "We're also very optimistic that we will get a theatrical release."

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