First-time director Vivek Sharma, whose film Bhootnath hits theatres on May 9, has pulled off the proverbial casting coup – his film brings together Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan for the first time since KANK.
HT City spoke to the director on how he got the 'not quite friendly' stars to pair up.
Do you know you are the talk of the town? You have brought Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan together at a time when all does not seem well between them.
Actually, full credit goes to (producer) Ravi Chopra, who has been a good friend of Bachchan saab for 35 years. I have been working with Shah Rukh for 14 years (Sharma was the creative head of Red Chillies and worked on all SRK's films up to Paheli). He is like my local guardian. It just happened that though Bachchan saab was the protagonist of Bhootnath, I asked Shah Rukh to do a special appearance and he agreed.
Was the tension apparent on the sets?
Not at all. We were not bothered about reports and speculations. We are creative people and belong to a fraternity. Big B and SRK are international icons and total professionals. There were times when Shah Rukh was not shooting but would drop in. He would give DVDs to Bachchan saab and it was like a family picnic.
Do they share screen space?
Yes, they do.
Do you think the SRK-Bachchan angle has taken the limelight away from the film?
We never bothered about this angle. You will never hear the two stars talking about their supposed problems. Shah Rukh respects Bachchan saab. Both he and I call him Dada.
How did they react to reports of their tiff?
They simply didn't talk about it. When you are shooting you just think of your character, look, dialogue delivery and other things.
You don't react to what is being written in the papers.
They are seasoned actors and know how to maintain their dignity.
Will we see them work together more frequently?
I sure have a huge desire to work with them. They are the most capable actors around.
What is the length of Shah Rukh's role?
That is a surprise.
We hear Abhishek Bachchan loved the teasers…
Abhishek saw the DVDs his father gave him. He called to say he loved the promos. I said, "If you are a friend you will tell me the truth." I thought he was joking. But he said they were out of the world.
What next for you?
I am directing a romantic thriller called Kal Kisne Dekha to launch producer Vashu Bhagnani's son Jacky.