Recently Shekhar Kapoor tried to flaunt his knowledge of Shakespeare on Twitter, and was corrected by another director -- Manish Tiwari -- whose Issaq was a Hindi rendering of Romeo and Juliet.
Shekhar attributed a few lines from the play to the wrong character. That is rather incongruous when one considers Shekhar’s intimate familiarity with Elizabethan England and by extension the Shakespearean era, through his two films Elizabeth and its sequel The Golden Age.
Manish Tiwari who knows every line of Romeo & Juliet by heart, quickly jumped in to correct his fellow-Shakespearean.
Laughing at the incident Manish says, “I think Shekhar tweeted the line, ‘They’re beggars who can count their love’s worth’ attributing it to Romeo. It was actually said by Juliet.And I pointed it out to him.”
While the incident seems innocuous on the surface it underlines the brewing war among Bollywood filmmakers who are in the process of adapting Romeo & Juliet to their own fertile imagination.
Last year one heard of Manish being miffed with Yashraj Fiilms for doing a Uttar Pradesh-based take on Romeo & Juliet and calling it Ishaqzaade. The title bore an uncanny resemblance to his Ishaaq. This could’ve been one of the reasons why the film failed to take off. Though he refuses to talk about the incident Tiwari’s friends say he was far from amused by another UP-based version of Romeo & Juliet with a title similar to his, coming up .
Now there is Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela, joining the race to the finish in contemporary out-of-the-box takes on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.
Manish Tiwari’s is the only faithful rendition of Romeo and Juliet. While Bhansali’s film relocates the pair to modern day Gujarat, Aanand Rai’s Ranjhaana took the star-crossed lovers to Varanasi and Delhi.