Actor and producer Shah Rukh Khan has acquired the rights for a Hindi remake of Kamal Haasan’s acclaimed political drama Hey Ram, Mumbai Mirror reported. The 2000 Tamil-Hindi bilingual was written, directed and produced by Haasan, who was also the protagonist. Khan played a key role in the film.
Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Haasan said that Khan had only received a wristwatch as remuneration for the film, as he had run out of money. “Now, he is the brand ambassador for a watch brand. I am glad that he got the Hindi rights of Hey Ram from Bharat bhai (co-producer Bharat Shah). He should have some memory of the film as he gave his friendship and service for it.”
Hey Ram opens on December 6, 1999, the seventh anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Mosque by Hindu fundamentalists. Retired archaeologist Saket Ram (Haasan) reminisces about his life on his deathbed. He goes back in time to Partition, recalling his camaraderie with his Muslim colleague Amjad Ali Khan (Khan), who is against the bifurcation of India and chooses not to migrate to the newly created Pakistan. When Ram goes to Kolkata to be with his wife, he gets pulled into a plot to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi.
The film also starred Rani Mukerji, Vasundhara Das, Hema Malini, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Atul Kulkarni and Vikram Gokhale. Hey Ram won three National Film Awards. It was also selected by Film Federation of India as the country’s official submission to the Oscars, but did not get nominated.
Haasan had recently tweeted that he had given a digital print of the film to Hollywood director Christopher Nolan. The two had met during Nolan’s recent India visit to promote the use of celluloid for movie-making.