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‘No one was embarrassed’

Director Bela Bhansali Sehgal insists her film is not crass, says audience won’t squirm while watching it .

bollywood Updated: Aug 18, 2012 16:53 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
Boman Irani

Is it true that Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi was planned a decade ago but was shelved because Boman Irani shifted focus to big budget films like Darna Mana Hai (2002) and Munnabhai MBBS (2003)?

Yes, Boman and I had started working on this film around 10 years ago, after Sanjay (producer-brother Sanjay Leela Bhansali) came up with the idea. Then, Boman signed another film. I tried to change the setup from Parsi to Punjabi but things didn’t work out and we put the project on hold.

Recently, when Sanjay agreed to produce my directorial debut, I told him that this was the film I wanted to make as marriage in an issue in all households. I’m glad we’ve made it in 2012 because the audience today is more receptive to a mature love story.

But will they accept a 40-something couple, getting intimate and even kissing on screen?

When we were shooting a scene with Boman lounging around in boxers, Farah’s three kids, her mother and mother-in-law were present on the sets. And no one was embarrassed. It’s a classy film, despite the intimacy, no one will squirm, I promise.

The cheesy lines got the trailers a U/A certification.Yeah, it did and I was surprised because when Shirin blurts out, “Maine tumhe nanga dekha hai!’ (I’ve seen you naked), it’s a stupidly innocent statement and not something crass.

She’s crazy and he’s a simple guy who sells bras and panties for a living. A lot is being made of his profession too, but if you can show John Abraham in boxer shorts (Dostana, 2008), why can’t I show my hero peddling women’s undergarments? We all wear them, what’s to feel ashamed about? And aren’t there bra and panty ads running on TV?

Even though Farah is not your stereotypical Bollywood heroine, you’ve compelled her to do a rain dance much against her wishes. Yes, during a romantic duet with Boman, Farah steps out in the rain and she did have misgivings. She grumbled, but eventually got soaked in the artificial rain and despite running a temperature even re-shot the parts that appear in slow motion. Rain can make anyone look sexy. You don’t have to be a size zero in a clinging sari to steam up the screen, Farah does it wearing trousers and a daring attitude.

Many believe the film is your answer to the family pressures on your brother and you to get married?

There was no pressure on me since I got married at 28. Yes, Sanjay is still a bachelor and my mother keeps pestering him to marry. He’s open to the idea, but like Shirin and Farhad, he just has to find someone he loves. Until then, he’s married to his films.