The producer and director of Bolo Raam are at loggerheads over the editing out of a 15-second scene that required Naseeruddin Shah to give as many as 10 retakes as a result of technical glitches. “Once the light wasn’t right, the second time the camera malfunctioned and then a shot was out of focus. It is to Naseersaab’s credit that he kept his cool. The episode was baffling till some locals pointed out that a small, half-a-century-old temple in Lonavala that we had hidden behind a dark curtain to keep out of the frame, was the reason behind our ordeal. Giving in to sentiment and superstition, we whisked away the cloth, lit a few diyas and voila, shooting went of smoothly thereafter,” reminisces director Rakesh Chauturvedi Om.
End of the story? Not quite because at the time of the final edit, when the psychological thriller was going beyond the stipulated two hours, producer Goldie Bhutani insisted on removing that errant scene. Reasons Bhutani, “My director is very close to Naseerbhai having done theatre with him in the past. For him it was sacrilege to edit out a scene featuring his God. But I’m a producer and for me business scores over emotions. A two-hour film can get me four-five shows a day in a multiplex. I go beyond two hours and the number of shows reduces.”
Chaturvedi retorts by pointing out that in that case Rajkumar Hirani would never have dared to make a three-hour 3 Idiots or used 20 cuts to show Vidya Balan’s ring dropping and being picked up in Lage Raho Munnabhai.
“My producer or even the audience may not understand the significance of the sequence but those who understand film technique will realise that each shot was meticulously designed,”he argues, adding that Bhutani and he have had several creative differences in the past too.
“It always took a long time to convince him about what I considered important. In this case, I think he just turned obdurate to prove that he was boss,” Chuturvedi says bitterly.
The film officially released yesterday so it could be in contention for the awards, but opens in the theatres only today. Touching on the sensitive issue of matricide, it has debutant Rishi Bhutani, Goldie’s brother, accused of killing his mother (Padmini Kolhapure).
Chaturvedi has already confirmed Naseeruddin Shah for his next project, a father-son story, with him playing the role of the son. You wonder if Bhutani will produce this film too and Chauturvedi says candidly, “Inshaallah! But it’s difficult giving a clear answer at the moment. We’ve been friends for a while now and despite what happened continue to be on talking terms. But whether the dosti extends to other project, only Raam can tell.” Touche!