‘Laden’ to be Franchised
With the unexpected success of the political satire Tere Bin Laden plans are afoot to create an ongoing series of films featuring the Laden lookalike, played by Pradhuman Singh.
The success of the desi Laden has taken the film’s makers by surprise. Director Abhishek Varma admits, creating a franchise out of the Laden character is an idea being seriously explored specially since the humour on Laden has been taken in the right spirit.
Singh who has been in-character playing Laden even off-screen is a bit more cautious in his enthusiasm to reprise the role. “It would depend entirely on the writing. Abhishek Sharma who’s almost like a childhood buddy – I know him from when I was 17– worked hard to bring the idea of a poor Laden lookalike, who creates a global stir, come alive. Now to carry the idea forward without seeming to simply cash in on a successful formula, we need a script that is as funny, if not funnier.”
Pradhuman who acted at the age of 20 when he was in the National School Of Drama gave up acting entirely and has now returned to acting with a role he never thought he could pull off. “When Abhishek suggested I play a character who is mistaken for Laden, I was zapped. I had never even remotely thought I resembled Laden. But now that the character has been liked, I don’t mind playing him again.”
Another Ladenin-blunderland saga is on the anvil. And this character may become Hindi cinema’s first formal farcical franchise in the tradition of Larry Charles’ Borat played by Sacha Baron Cohen.
Says Pradhuman, “I’ve gotten so used to being dressed as Laden/Noora I had almost forgotten what I really look like. I’d wake up in the morning without makeup and wonder who the stranger in the mirror was. We got a really good makeup person, Vikram Gaekwad, to do my ‘Osama’ makeup”.
The makeover was so complete and convincing even Pradhuman’s girlfriend (a law student) was fooled.
“But in spite of being constantly dressed as Osama I don’t suffer from identity crisis. As a trained actor from the NSD I can get in and out of character without missing a beat”, says Pradhuman, who now heads home to Delhi to celebrate the success of Tere Bin Laden with his family.
Then he returns to Bollywood to start from scratch. “I’ve to convince filmmakers that the person I played in Tere Bin Laden looks very different from me.”