‘I am the only south Indian filmmaker to make a dent in Bollywood’ – Priyadarshan

With a formidable star cast comprising heavyweights like Govinda, Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Jackie Shroff and Lara Dutta, director Priyadarshan is ready with yet another tour-de-force.

BhagamBhag, his latest venture, is produced by Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision Private Limited and PopKorn Motion Pictures Pvt Ltd. In this freewheeling interview, Priyadarshan talks about his film and his future career moves.

What is BhagamBhag all about?
It is all about a theatre, which is run by Paresh Rawal. Troubles start when a young girl (Lara Dutta) who happens to be a compulsive liar, joins the troupe. It is about the hilarious trials and tribulations Akshay and Govinda go through together as theatre artistes with Paresh Rawal’s group.

It is a laughathon, which involves the comic trio running from pillar to post trying to avoid the unexpected and funny situations only to get into bigger trouble. In short, BhagamBhag is out and out a mad film which you have got to see, laugh and enjoy after leaving your brains behind at home. My good friend and actor Suniel Shetty is producing the film.

Why did you replace Suniel Shetty in the film with Govinda at the eleventh hour though Suniel is the producer?
It is true that we had contemplated casting Suniel, along with Akshay Kumar when we conceived the subject. Suniel suggested Govinda’s name and asked me to cast him because he did not want to be a part of it, especially since he was producing the film. He also felt that if we cast him and Akshay in the film, BhagamBhag too would look like it was yet another sequel to Hera Pheri, with the same lead pair in place!

Why did you agree to cast Govinda in your film for the first time, in spite of his reputation for reporting late on the sets?
At the outset, I asked Govinda whether he would report on the sets on time. Not only did he promise me that he would be punctual, but the fact remains that I enjoyed working with him because he didn’t come late even for a single day. Now I feel people are not telling the truth when they say Govinda is never punctual.

What is the highlight of BhagamBhag besides the script?
My producer Suniel Shetty has spared no expense in making the film and has even shot the film over the beautiful city of London in mindblowing 32 locations including Green Park, Hyde Park, Oxford University, Kensington and Piccadilly Circus, just to create a gloriously romantic aura for a duet, Tere Liye, composed by music director Pritam featuring Akshay Kumar and Lara Dutta.

Why did you refuse to direct the sequels of Hera Pheri?
I have always subscribed to the view that a subject can be made only once. I refused to make the sequel to Hera Pheri for the simple reason that I doubt whether I can make it any better than the original version, even if I myself directed the original. When Feroz suggested that I direct Phir Hera Pheri, I told him I did not even wish to try making a sequel. In fact, when Phir Hera Pheri clicked at the box office, Feroz once again expressed his desire to make a sequel to that film too but I refused point blank.

How would you describe your journey as a filmmaker from Gardish till BhagamBhag?
I think I couldn’t have asked God for more. I have been blessed with five consecutive hits. It has never happened in the history of Hindi cinema. I am particularly glad that I am the only South Indian filmmaker who has been able to make a dent in Bollywood. I have survived because of my belief in God and my having been good to people around me.

BOC Editorial

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