Bollywood's hot pair to sizzle again ... in terrorism thriller

by AFP/Shail Kumar Singh, Nov 20, 2003 | Destinations: India / Mumbai

Bollywood's hot pair, the dusky and sensuous Bipasha Basu and the hunkish John Abraham, are set to sizzle together again on screen, but this time in a film set amid the tragedy of the September 11 attacks. The real-life lovers set the screens on fire earlier this year in "Jism" ("Body"), a bold and passionate crime thriller that became Bollywood's first big hit this year.

Basu has since become one of Indian cinema's most sought-after stars -- but with the upcoming romantic thriller, "Mumkin" ("Possible"), she is also looking to be seen as more than a sexpot.

"Mumkin" is a triangular love story written in the backdrop of the September 11, 2001 attacks, with the third role played by newcomer Priyanshu Chatterji. "I am playing the role of a painter whose elder sister has died in the 9/11 attack in New York. After that she wants to know about terrorism and the guys who work in counter-terrorism operations," Basu told AFP.

The 60 million-rupee (1.32 million-dollar) production, scheduled for a May 2004 release, will be shot by debutant director Tanveer Khan and produced by well-known filmmaker Anil Sharma.

In "Jism," Basu and Abraham enacted passionate love scenes, shattering taboos in an industry where until recently even kissing was frowned upon. Basu in "Jism" broke the Bollywood mould of the innocent heroine, playing a woman unapolegetic about using her body to persuade her lover to kill her rich husband. "It is unfortunate that I have got the sex symbol image after 'Jism'," Basu said.

"I am trying to fight and defy that image, but it is proving difficult so I am not bothering about what others are saying about me. "I have done roles of an airhostess, a simple girl and a friend in my other films, but some people still want me to be associated as a sex symbol. I don't mind what they talk about me because I am getting all kinds of roles."

In the latest thriller, model-turned-actor Abraham plays a counter-terrorism expert. "It is a very challenging role. In fact, this film is close to my heart because I had a friend who worked in counter-terrorism and died in a terrorist attack six months ago," said Abraham, without explaining further. "When I heard the script for the first time I thought that this story is about my friend. So I am grateful to be a part of this film.

"Mumkin" will be the couple's third movie together, the other being "Aetbar" ("Trust"), which also starred Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and was directed by Vikram Bhatt, known for making successful films at low cost. Basu also scored success last year when she starred in the suspense thriller "Raaz" ("Secret"), a major hit in a year of big-budget flops.

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