“Hera Pheri Part 3 will come soon” – Firoz A. Nadiadwala

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Sequels don’t work in the Indian Film Industry. His latest film, Phir Hera Pheri has broken this jinx, capturing the hearts of not just the Indian audience but audiences abroad in UK and US as well. It has achieved the rare honour of being the first Hindi film sequel to become a Hit. It is breaking all time records in many places in India. Businessofcinema.com ‘s Abhijit Mhamunkar decided to catch up with the proud Producer of Phir Hera Pheri, Firoz A. Nadiadwala at his office cum palatial bungalow in Juhu.

As one enters his huge cabin one cannot fail to notice the awesome memorabilia he has accumulated over the years. Amongst many interesting things such as a huge life size Starbucks mug to a mini model golf court and piles of audio cds, it’s Hollywood actor Al Pacino’s innumerous photographs that one prominently sees all across the cabin.

Amidst constant calls coming from all over updating him about his latest film’s success figures, a cool and composed Firoz A. Nadiadwala talks about the awe inspiring success his film is achieving and much more. Excerpts from the interview:

No Hindi film sequel till date could achieve what your Phir Hera Pheri has. Can you share main reasons for the same?
There is only one reason and it’s sheer teamwork. Every single person associated with it has contributed to its success. Each one has given his best. I would not like to point out at any other reason than this one. Apart from breaking all time records in some centers in India, my film has debuted in the UK TOP 10 at the No 8 position in the thick of stiff competition. It is also doing very well in the US as well. The invitation of its script to the Oscars Library is a great honour for us.

This is the first time we are seeing your film’s music also getting popular in such a big way. Is it because for the first time you have changed your regular music director Anu Malik to the current hot favourite Himesh Reshammiya?

You are right none of my earlier film’s music got so much popularity like the music of Phir Hera Pheri . Anu Malik has always put in a lot of hard work whenever he has given music to my films. Same way Himesh has tried giving in his best and it has worked. The music video track Aye Meri Zohrazabeen, was shown along with the end titles but seeing its rising popularity we have decided to incorporate it in the film from today. We have shot an additional scene with Paresh Rawal for the same.

Was it because of personal differences that you did not repeat the original Hera Pheri director Priyadarshan for Phir Hera Pheri ?
Let me make it clear. I have no problems of any sorts with Priyadarshan. I think he is one of the finest talents that India cinema has got. He was busy with his other film commitments. This is the only reason why he could not direct the Hera Pheri sequel. We were and are still good friends. If you observe closely just before the song Aye Meri Zohrazabeen begins, you can see Priyadarshan in the background talking to the Phir Hera Pheri director Neeraj Vora. Now if he had any sort of problems with Phir Hera Pheri or me, you would have not seen him there. We are in fact planning to start a film together next year.

It has happened yet once again. Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty having a verbal duel amongst themselves regarding their roles after their film together is released. Why does it always happen especially whenever it’s your film?
(Laughs). They are good friends in real. There is no animosity between them of any kind. They may have argued but now seeing how much popularity their film is generating they have forgotten all that and are enjoying its success.

You took a big risk by releasing Phir Hera Pheri along with Priyadarshan directed Chup ChupKe. Weren’t you worried about the outcome?
It wasn’t a conscious decision, besides both Ronnie Screwvala and Priyadarshan are good friends of mine. UTV is a big production company. But, I was puzzled by the negativity that was generated by the UTV guys regarding my film. May be it was their sales pitch.

I did not feel the need to react to such negative things being said about my film even before its release. I was always damn sure about my product. Its success now has answered all those who had problems with my film.

While watching Phir Hera Pheri most of the comic actors ended up looking wasted. Johnny Lever for instance.
The conscious effort to control the length of the film resulted in chopping some really funny scenes and a song. We had shot a very hilarious scene between Johnny Lever, Paresh Rawal and Suniel. We had to edit it out because the length was going haywire.

You are always accused of being a very interfering producer by most of your directors.
In the Indian film industry the producer is required to just invest his money and keep his mouth shut. I strongly object to that notion. I am a passion-driven producer. I like to take interest in all the aspects of the making of my films. If I feel like giving a suggestion that’s in the better interest of my film, I don’t hold myself back. I have never forced any of my directors to implement my suggestions. If they feel my suggestions are valid enough then only they implement them. They in fact respect the fact that whatever I am suggesting is finally for the betterment of our film.

Action has always been an important part of almost all the films you have produced. It was missing in Phir Hera Pheri.
That’s because it was a conscious decision. We concentrated purely on the fun element. Even the climax fun fight in the circus was shown in television promos after the film was released. My last release Deewane Hue Paagal suffered a set back because its action promos sent out the wrong signals. It was basically a very funny film. We avoided that mistake with Phir Hera Pheri.

Any plans to make an action thriller again ahead?
Not so soon in the near future. But in the films that I am making ahead, I am going to pay attention that the action is a more glamourised and not the typical one that you see in action films. My comedy films will be having funny action sequences like the kind you saw in Phir Hera Pheri. The last all-action film I made was Aan: Men at Work that did not run at the box office. I consider it amongst my finest films. Madhur Bhandarkar had done a very fine job with it. Ironically none of the uniform films that released that year worked at the box office. My film came in between Police Force that had Akshay as a cop in it and Dev that had Amitabh Bachchan playing a cop.

Do you plan to direct a film in near future?
Directing is a very easy job but producing is the most difficult one. Nope I won’t be directing any film in the future. I enjoy producing films.

Which films are lined up ahead next?
Two of my films are currently on floor. One is Welcome directed by Anees Bazmee starring Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Feroz Khan and Katrina Kaif. It’s a romantic comedy. The second one is an out and out crazy comedy directed by Ahmed Khan called Fool and Final. It has a huge star cast comprising of Sunny Deol, Shahid Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Arbaaz Khan, Jackie Shroff, Sameera Reddy, Ayesha Takia, Jaaved Jaffrey and Om Puri.

After Phir Hera Pheri any chances of Hera Pheri Part 3?
Definitely. This one shall also have Kabira (Gulshan Grover) and Khadag Singh (Om Puri) the popular characters from Hera Pheri and Johnny Lever and Rajpal Yadav’s characters from Phir Hera Pheri. This time the gap between part 2 and 3 shall definitely be shorter than what it was between part 1 and 2