The remake of one of Rajesh Khanna’s biggest hits Aradhana will take a little longer than expected, as producer-director Ashim Samanta intends to turn the original story of an airforce pilot and his lookalike illegitimate son into a modern-day Top Gun.
Explains Samanta, “When my father made Aradhana, he couldn’t shoot at an air base and the scenes had to be fudged. Those were times when permission to access defence-related locations was impossible for filmmakers. Now, we will shoot at air force bases. It was something my father couldn’t do and it remained a lingering regret.”
Samanta wants to turn Aradhana into Top Gun. “I want the sequences showing the hero emerge from the fighter planes to have the same impact as Tom Cruise’s scenes in Top Gun. We are working towards creating the same level of adrenaline and authenticity in the air-base sequences.”
Samanta’s son Aditya will play the double role that had made Rajesh Khanna a household name after the original Aradhana. But who will play the role of the heroine, the young girl with a son born out of wedlock who transforms into an old mother?
“My father had a tough time casting for the role. Aparna Sen was almost finalised, but she opted out at the last minute. Finally Sharmila Tagore, who was in her 20s, played the 60 year-old woman. I’m hoping an equally enterprising actress will be found for the new Aradhana.”
If no actress is found to be suitable for both the young and old avatar of the unwed mother, then two actresses may be signed for the same role. But the hero’s double role remains unchanged.
The original songs from Aradhana — Roop tera mastana, Mere Sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu, Baaghon mein bahaar hai and Gunguna rahe hai bhanwar — will all be retained in the new Aradhana. Says Asim, “We’re keeping the songs, but we’re recording them as per new technology. Why would I tamper with such classic songs?”