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Historical tale about Gandhi's assassination produced by UAE company

DUBAI // Bollywood legend Om Puri and former English footballer Vinnie Jones may not sound like the most likely pairing for a new Dubai-produced movie, but that’s what recently launched UAE production company Nugen Productions is offering to the world.

At a barely publicised event on Thursday, the producer of the new film, Solar Eclipse, Pankaj Sehgal and cast members, including Puri and Grammy-winning composer Rob Diggy Morrison — who has previously worked with the likes of Michael Jackson and Beyoncé on that certain Crazy in Love track — revealed that the new film has been shot, post-produced and is ready to hit cinemas.

The film, Sehgal informed us, features cast and crew from 35 countries.

“This film is truly international,” he said. “It’s perhaps the most Dubai film you could imagine. We had 35 nationalities in the cast and crew, but I think when it comes to nationalities, it’s nationality agnostic.”

Solar Eclipse is a historical tale of the political intrigue surrounding the assassination of Indian icon Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 and features a multinational, all-star cast including Hollywood and Broadway star Stephen Lang (Avatar, Don’t Breathe), British bad boy Jones (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, X-Men: Last Stand), and Bollywood legend Om Puri. The role of Gandhi is played by Spanish actor Jesus Sane.

The movie was shot over about a 100 days in Sri Lanka with two filming units in place.

“Sri Lanka is very similar to India,” Sehgal said. “It has that same history of British colonialism, a lot of the British architecture is intact, and there is a lot less bureaucracy than trying to shoot in India.”

The film is finished, although Seghal admitted minor changes may be needed from the final version to accommodate global audiences — for one thing, the film’s current two-hour-and-20-minute running time, intended for Western audiences, may be extended for Indian audiences to allow five songs to be placed in the final Indian cut.

The film was entirely funded from UAE or Indian sources, Seghal said, and with discussions with distributors underway, he hopes it will be in cinemas in the second half of 2017.

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