SRK, Aamir war goes global

The year 2011 could very well be the decisive year in the Shah Rukh Khan-Aamir Khan battle for one-upmanship. If all goes according to plan, next year both the superstars will go international with a film each by two of the most celebrated directors on the global map.

What gives the global war of the Khans a cutting edge is the striking similarity in location of the two proposed projects. Both films are set in Mumbai, with the city playing as large a role in the script as each of the Khans.

While Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle is ready to adapt Suketu Mehta’s celebrated novel, Maximum City to screen, Aamir is set to play the lead in Paul Schrader’s X-Treme City for producer Anubhav Sinha, to be shot in Dharavi.

Both films are realistic takes on present-day Mumbai, its splendour and stench. Boyle and Schrader have already visited Mumbai a number of times and met the two stars who have reportedly agreed to be part of the respective films.

Says a common friend of the two stars, “At the end of the day, a film about life in Mumbai is a film about life in the city. Even if two different directors from two different continents (Boyle is British, Schrader is American) work on two different projects, the spirit of the city is bound to be a common thread.”

It is this overlap that the two filmmakers are said to be addressing. Says a source, “The teams behind both projects are aware that Mumbai is the hero of both films.

Both films are going to be shot in crowded localities of Mumbai. The problem is to figure out how to give the two films different looks.”

Boyle has an edge, though. He has been there, done it before in Mumbai with Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire. He knows what facet of the city he will highlight in Maximum City.

Sound engineer Resul Pookutty, who once again teams up with Danny Boyle after Slumdog, says no two films about Mumbai can ever be the same, even if shot by the same director. “Mumbai is a versatile city. Maximum City will be very different from Slumdog.”

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