When it comes to Shakespeare adaptation, no one does it better in Bollywood than director Vishal Bharadwaj. After adapting three of the maestro’s tragedies, Maqbool (Macbeth), Omkara (Othello) and Haider (Hamlet), he is now exploring comedies from the classic play writer.
“For a long time now, I have been meaning to start my first film as part of a trilogy based on Shakespearean comedies. My films on his tragedies have received acclaim; they are part of the curriculum in many universities. Recently, a girl from Lucknow completed her doctorate with my trilogy of tragedies as the subject,” Bharadwaj told Bombay Times.
The director has even zeroed in on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to be the first film of his comedy trilogy. “The first film in the trilogy will be based on Twelfth Night. The film will be called 'Chaudhvin Ki Raat'. This particular play had two titles. One was 'Twelfth Night' and the other was 'What You Will'. The play was called 'Twelfth Night' because it was first performed 12 days after Christmas. The title also refers to the night before Epiphany, the day when the wise men visited infant Jesus. When I wanted adapt it to a more contemporary and Indian setting, I decided to call it 'Chaudhvin Ki Raat' because this night has a huge significance in the Indian context, as the moon is at its most beautiful. There is film an old song titled, ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho, Ya Aaftaab Ho’ and also a ghazal sung by Ghulam Ali called, ‘Kal Chaudhvin Ki Raat Thi,” he added.
Bharadwaj carved a name for himself with his adaptations which have been skillfully crafted into contemporary Indian contexts. This time however, the real task for him is to find an actress who can play the twin parts of Viola and Sebastian. “It will be a big challenge to find an actress who can enact the roles of the twin brother and sister in the play. Cate Blanchett essayed the role of Bob Dylan in the film, I’m Not There. She was very convincing in her role and since then, I have wanted to find an Indian Cate Blanchett. Now, that’s going to be fun. I think that this will be a first in Indian cinema where a girl will play the role of twins, that of a boy and a girl,” he said.
Like most of his film, this time too, the music will be composed by veteran lyricist, Gulzar. However, the director revealed little else about the movie.