She has denied it but speculation is rife that Mahesh Bhupathi has done a cameo in wife Lara Dutta’s debut production, Challo Dilli, after the tennis ace during a promotional campaign in the capital, admitted as much. But director Shashant Shah insists that the rumours are untrue.
“The media had been asking Mahesh if he’s acting in the film so he just gave them a half answer during the Delhi Daredevils IPL match. He is a rockstar and I’d love to work with him some day but in Challo Dilli, it’s a top movie star who’s made a guest appearance.”
Quiz him on the identity of the actor and Shah says it could be any one of Lara’s co-stars from Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan to Akshay Kumar. He refuses to confirm the news but apparently it’s Akshay, Lara’s first co-star from Andaz, who’ll spring the surprise. Shah’s been working on two other scripts and would love to collaborate with Eros International, Mahesh’s Big Daddy Productions and Lara’s Bheegi Basanti Entertainment on his second movie too.
He recalls how after the first cut of Chalo Dilli was screened, the unit had a party at Vinay’s (Pathak) place. “I was discussing with my editor how we could up the pace of the film a bit when Mahesh walked in and wondered if we were on to our next film. When told I was still on Chalo Dilli, he insisted I give him a new script to produce. He was in the middle of planning his marriage and honeymoon at the time and already thinking of his next production,” laughs Shah.
He admits that many were sceptical about him sticking to the promised deadline but he kept his commitment and wrapped up the film in 33 days with a three-day break. This, even though on the first day of the shoot at Jaipur airport, it suddenly started raining. On another occasion, when their time ran out, the train they were in, suddenly started moving.
“I wasn’t fazed by the unexpected twists, not even when we failed to find cockroaches in Jhujhuna after a two-day search,” chuckles Shah, who sent his team to the railway canteen where they finally caught their cockroach. “It was supposed to be killed by Vinay in the film but we were careful not to injure it. And after the shoot, my production designer returned it to the canteen.”