Bollywood's first family star in "Enron" drama

Thu Jun 5, 2008 3:38am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Krittivas Mukherjee

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A new Bollywood film on a shrewd businesswoman's plan to build a power plant caught up in development politics is drawing comparisons with the controversy behind the failed Indian project of U.S. utilities giant Enron.

"Sarkar Raj," starring Bollywood's first family the Bachchans, has an uncanny resemblance to the real-life drama involving powerful politician Balasaheb Thackeray, whose party opposed a $2.8 billion power plant built by Enron in the 1990s.

The controversy surrounding the private power plant, India's largest then, highlighted the politics of development and the difficulties of doing business in a country replete with corruption, political intimidation and red tape.

Director Ram Gopal Varma, however, said neither Thackeray nor Enron inspired "Sarkar Raj," or Absolute Rule, which opens on Friday.

"There is politics, but it's not entirely a political film," he said. "When you make a realistic film, there is bound to be some reference point in existing characters and the existing issue."

"Sarkar Raj," billed as a sequel to "Sarkar" released three years ago, picks up on the life of Subhash Nagre, a charismatic, grey-haired leader played by Amitabh Bachchan, who like Thackeray, is not in government but wields enormous influence through an army of die-hard followers.


Not much in the film's Mumbai moves without the consent of Nagre, a figure shrouded in a Godfather-like mystique. He is approached by the London-based CEO of a power firm, who realizes his blessings are vital to setting up the plant.   Continued...

<p>Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai (C), her father-in-law, actor Amitabh Bachchan (R) and her husband, actor Abhishek Bachchan, unveil the soundtrack of their forthcoming movie "Sarkar Raj" in Mumbai May 29, 2008. REUTERS/Manav Manglani</p>