Pakistani production shingle Vox Vision and the U.K.’s Sum Films have outlined plans to make a predominantly English-language biopic about Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan who was assassinated Dec. 27.
Companies, respectively headed by Zaid Aziz and Henna Rai, said that “Simply Benazir,” a working title, will lense in Pakistan, Blighty, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. They added that it will be made “under the guidance of” Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party and close friends.
“This is going to be more than a biopic, we will discuss the controversy surrounding her, her enormous network in the U.K. which few people know about, and Benazir’s suspicions as to who might want to assassinate her,” Rai told Variety.
Scriptwriting and research, including examination of the book that Bhutto and Washington lobbyist Mark Siegel recently completed and which is awaiting publication, is expected to take the best part of a year. Delivery of film is tentatively pegged at early- to mid-2009 with an outing on both festival and commercial circuits targeted.
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Last week Karachi-based production firm Skies Unlimited announced that it is working on a biopic, with scripter and poet Aqeel Ahmad Ruby penning the screenplay and India’s Mahesh Bhatt as helmer (Variety, Jan 4.)
During the screenwriting process Rai and Zair, both multi-hyphenates with film and TV experience, will decide whether they will co-direct the pic or appoint a helmer.
Producers will likely pool coin from private sources in India and Pakistan and have already approached public sector Blighty funders including the U.K. Film Council, Department of Culture, Media & Sport and the British Council. They say they already have access to over $1 million of funding.
Separately, it was revealed Monday that HarperCollins has brought forward publication of “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West” from April 8. to Feb 12. Bhutto argues in the book that Islam should adopt democratic principles as applied in the West.