15 years of Saathiya: Abhishek Bachchan, not Vivek Oberoi was supposed to star opposite Rani Mukerji

Saathiya, which was a remake of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Alai Payuthey, achieved success when it released in 2002. We take a look at ten interesting facts about the film that is remembered for its story, approach and music.

bollywood Updated: Dec 20, 2017 13:59 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Saathiya,15 years of Saathiya,Bollywood
Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukerji-starrer Saathiya was filmmaker Shaad Ali’s directorial debut.

Shaad Ali’s directorial debut Saathiya is remembered for more reasons than one. From the appealing storyline, perfect pairing of Rani Mukerji and Vivek Oberoi, to the music, the film earned appreciation from both critics and the audience alike. Mention the film and the first thing that comes to our mind is the opening scene where Vivek is shown listening to music and enjoying his bike ride.

What happens at the next moment is something that does surprise everyone, and takes the audience back in time to find out more about the love story of Suhani (Rani) and Aditya (Vivek). This successful romantic drama, which is a remake of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Alai Payuthey (2000) completes 15 years today. To mark the occasion, we take a look at a few interesting facts around the film.

1. Shaad had actually wanted Abhishek Bachchan to play the character of Aditya, but he turned down the film.

2. In the title track, Aditya is seen riding his bike through sea waves, which is a reference to the Tamil film Alai Payuthey.

3. Shaad was very nervous making the film. He had shared how he would be as tensed as if giving an exam. He was quoted as saying, “Making Saathiya is like an exam for me. Exam fever, you know? It seems like I have been writing an examination every day, from the day I started shooting for Saathiya. It is a challenge to make a film made by Mani Sir, again. I learnt filmmaking from him. Once I finished shooting, I started thinking about how Mani Sir would have done each shot, how he would react, etc.”

4. The film starts with Vivek riding his bike while listening to music on headphones but in reality he was not listening to any music but merely acted it out.

5. In one of the train sequences in the film there is a reference to the song Chaiyya Chaiyya from Mani Ratnam’s film Dil Se (1998).

6. Talking about making Saathiya, Shaad, who was an assistant director to Mani Ratnam, also added that while making the film he could not forget his mentor had made Alai Payuthey. “The initial script was at the back of my mind. I wanted to get the images of the film out of my mind. That is why I asked Gulzarsaab to write a new script. I knew he would have a different approach to the film. At the same time, we didn’t want to lose the essence. I admit the original is like the Bible; I have followed it. But you will not see a remake in Saathiya. Saathiya is more extroverted, more robust and more energetic,” he had said adding how Mani had complimented him. “He said, ‘It doesn’t look like your first film.’ That comment was a big compliment for me. Mani Sir is a man of few words,” added Shaad.

Rani Mukerji and Vivek Oberoi were cast as a pair for the first time in Saathiya.

7. This is the only film that actors Vivek Oberoi and Shah Rukh Khan had collaborated for, till date.

8. Vivek had to dress down and wore makeup to make his skin tone darker for Company (2002). So when the audience saw him in Saathiya they realised that he is actually fair. In one of his earlier interviews Vivek had revealed, “I was playing a role opposite an established star like Ajay Devgan. I was playing a character that was supposed to dress down, look bad. I had to colour my skin a few shades darker. People are still confused about how I really look. When they see Saathiya’s promos they say, ‘Arre, yeh toh gora hai [He is fair].”

9. Remembering his shooting experience, Vivek had said in a previous interview how the audience would only recognise Rani and not him till Company released. “Saathiya was shot pretty much parallel to Company (his debut film). I hadn’t had a release till then and nobody knew who I was… A lot of Saathiya was shot at train stations and people wouldn’t pay any attention to us. Only on the days Rani (Mukerji) was shooting, people would go ‘Rani Mukerji! Rani Mukerji!’ Rani was a star, no one knew me. Then in April 2002, Company released and on that weekend, we had to shoot on the tracks close to Gaiety-Galaxy theatre (in Mumbai). Around midday, four-five people came and started calling me ‘Chandu Bhai’ (his character in Company)… In an hour, a few thousand people had gathered, the tracks were blocked… we had to call for cops… I walked out and the crowd let me go only when I said the ‘Khallas’ dialogue a couple of times… it was so surreal...,” he had said.

10. Chalka Chalka, one of the songs from the film was used in the Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Colin Firth starrer Hollywood movie The Accidental Husband (2008).

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First Published: Dec 20, 2017 13:59 IST