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The 68-year-old star of 1970s hits “Sholay” (Sparks) and “Deewaar” (Wall) joins DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s version of the 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Warner Bros. said in a statement from California on Tuesday that shooting started this week and Bachchan will play Meyer Wolfsheim, a shadowy organised crime figure who helps the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby make his money.
Bachchan was in Australia last month, where most of the filming will take place, but he did not disclose on his daily blog whether the trip was to finalise his appearance. Instead, he wrote cryptically on August 29 as he was about to return to India: “Time has been spent well and hopefully judiciously. Days ahead will tell us whether it was fruitful or not.”
The “Big B“, who has a fanatical following in India and among fans of Hindi-language cinema abroad, has starred in some 150 Bollywood films. In 2008, he released his first English-language film, “The Last Lear”. Maguire, star of the “Spider-Man” franchise, plays Nick Carraway, the would-be writer and narrator of the novel, who comes to New York from the US Midwest in 1922 to make his fortune.
DiCaprio plays the lead role of Jay Gatsby, while Britain’s Mulligan plays his lover, Carraway’s cousin, Daisy Buchanan. The film is being made on a $150 million budget and due for release next year, according to the imdb.com website.
“The Great Gatsby” has been adapted for cinema four times previously, including in 1974 with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Luhrmann, a fan of Bachchan who has said that Bollywood’s trademark song and dance routines influenced his Oscar-nominated “Moulin Rouge”, described Fitzgerald as “a passionate believer in the power of cinema”.
“The vision and the goal of our remarkable cast and creatives is to do justice to the deftness of Fitzgerald’s telling, and illuminate its big ideas and humanity.” – AFP