When Amitabh Bachchan’s make-up artist Deepak Sawant thought up his next Bhojpuri film, Gangadevi, it was obvious that it would feature Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan in the lead. But Sawant is not stopping at that. He’s turned producer and plans to release the film in Hindi after rechristening it Smt Netaji to reach out to a wider audience.
Asked why he decided to release the film in both languages, Sawant says, “Because that’s how I will be allowed to get in touch with both types of audience. Bhojpuri films are usually screened in single-screens. By releasing it in Hindi, I can reach the multiplex audience as well.”
On the casting, Sawant adds, “He has never said ‘no’ to me. So when I told him I would like him to do a cameo in my film, he wanted to contribute a lot more. So we decided to stretch his role and now he will be featuring in a major part of the film along with Jayaji.”
There was talk that Sawant had approached Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to play leading lady. He says, “Yes, I approached her but she was pregnant at the time. So she declined. Then I approached Katrina Kaif but she had date issues. So we zeroed in on Pakhi Hegde, who is a big name in the Bhojpuri industry.”