2004 witnessed the hit pairing of producer-director Farah Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, who delivered their maiden hit, Main Hoon Na. And now with their second film, Om Shanti Om, Farah takes pride in ‘reintroducing SRK.’
Moreover, in this film this exuberant lady director has paid ode to 70s era of Bollywood, which she considers as the film’s USP. However, to execute the same was a mammoth task, right from getting the props and equipments to visual effects, but Farah managed all and how!
In an interview that followed the film’s music launch, Farah (who’s eagerly awaiting the film’s release and her triplets!) gets vocal about OSO.
Since your film Om Shanti Om is based in the 1970’s, what kind of reference and pre-production did you have to do?
Actually I remember most of the frames of the films of 70’s, so I did not have any problem as such. We hired hair dressers and also junior artists from that era who were very excited to wear their buffoons, flowers and polka dotted sarees.
We had to hunt for the 70’s cars. In fact some of the cars used by us have actually belonged to Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini, like their Mercedes which they may have sold in the 1980’s and been maintained by people.
Some of the props and equipments like lights and cranes have been hired from R K Studio, which they have kept very carefully since the 70’s.
For the visual effects we have actually extracted negatives of Sunil Duttji, Rajesh Khannaji and Jeetendraji and worked on them to make Deepika dance with them.
What was the budget allocated?
Between Shah Rukh and me, we never know what the budgets of the movies are. We find it very tacky and cheap to claim that our movie has been made in Rs 40 – 50 crores. Even a Rs 10 crores movie can be the best movie of the year. I think we are under Rs 30 crores, for a movie of this scale where everything is big and on sets with 200 junior artists and 100 dancers.
The promos of the movie say you are ‘reintroducing Shah Rukh Khan’.
I really thought that with this new look (referring to SRK’s recent six-pack avatar), he looks almost like a new comer. He has never been seen like this before. At an age where most actors are putting on their shirts, he has chiseled his body at the age of 42.
What made you pair a new comer opposite SRK? How did you zero in on Deepika Padukone for the same?
I was very convinced that I wanted a new girl with Shah Rukh, because this changes the chemistry and the whole movie looks fresh. As it is so many people keep complaining about same faces and pairing, so I thought this would be nice.
Moreover, Deepika fits her role very well. Her look is very Indian classical, like Hemaji, which I don’t find in today’s girls. They are mostly teeny boppers, wannabe sexy and they don’t have the dignity and poise with which Deepika has carried herself. When I did a look test with Deepika I realized that she has an old world beauty to her. Today’s girls may look beautiful, but it may be difficult for them to carry a sharara or an amrapali.
And even though she is all of 21 years, when she was paired opposite Shah Rukh Khan she didn’t look very young.< Page Break >
Considering that she is a newcomer and is being launched in such a big film, did she undergo training?
We groomed Deepika by putting her in voice training classes, dancing classes and before we started shooting, I made sure she went for Anupam Kher’s three months acting course.
I even made sure she does a south Indian film before she comes here. So she worked in a Kannada film so that it would help her to face the camera.
Was it Shreyas Talpade’s performance in Dor that made you sign him?
No. I had turned off Dor in half hour only. I selected him on the basis of his performance in Apna Sapna Money Money. I wanted to see if he could act in a commercial film.
Your previous film Main Hoon Na had undertones about prisoners of war and also family relationships. Are there any undertones of Bollywood in Om Shanti Om as well?
In this film there are undertones but only about Bollywood and that too only happy ones. It is a very happy and mad look at our film industry. Normally when people think of the film industry they want to show the dark side of it. But I think there is also a happy side to it, which is what I have always found and have shown in my film.
You have roped in many film stars for OSO. How tough was it to co-ordinate?
Most of the people we approached were sweet, from Dharmendra to Jeetendra, they told me, just inform us half an hour in advance and we will be there. Mithun Da actually flew down for the song! The coordination of dates took a long time and now I think I can give management courses on it. Actually I also wanted to get Dev Saab, Dilip Ji and Shammi Kapoor together, but when Dev Saab refused, the idea went for a toss.
Was making OSO easier or tougher than Main Hoon Na?
I found OSO easier than Main Hoon Na. During the latter, Shah Rukh had a back problem and we were delayed for six months. Also we had huge outdoors and a lot of action.
Om Shanti Om was somehow much simpler to do. Everything was on the sets and was more controlled. I took just two weeks to script the movie and we finished everything in just five months.
The music of Main Hoon Na was a hit, so why did chose Vishal-Shekhar over Anu Malik for OSO?
Anu had done very good songs, but I just wanted a change. I don’t know why I did not take Anu. I think he was upset. May be Indian Idol 2 did it (laughs). I think I just wanted some break from Anu.