19 years of Duplicate: Juhi Chawla reveals why she bonded with Shah Rukh Khan
Actor Juhi Chawla was already an established name in the film industry and among the A-list heroines when she worked in the 1998 film, Duplicate, starring Shah Rukh Khan in a double role. As the film completes 19 years of its release today, Juhi reveals how, initially ,she was not convinced about being a part of it.
“I was in two minds because my character was not really doing anything substantial in the film. It was a sweet role but there was nothing to make me jump at . I remember I was working with Shah Rukh in Yes Boss (1997) at that time and after the shooting, we were at some bungalow in Mumbai when he sat me down and gave me a whole lecture for more than an hour on why I should be doing the film [Duplicate]. After sitting and listening to him for so long, I was like ‘okay, fine, maybe it’s not so bad and I am not looking at it correctly’, so that’s how I agreed to then do the film,” shares Juhi. The film was directed by Mahesh Bhatt and produced by Yash Johar.
Juhi and Shah Rukh’s friendship goes back a long way, since they worked together in films such as Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Darr (1993), Parmatma (1994) and Ram Jaane (1995). However, Juhi says that it was only during the shoot of Duplicate that she got close to SRK and they shared a great bond thereafter. Getting emotional while talking about the reason, Juhi says, “I lost my mother while shooting for Duplicate. We had reached Prague and it was Karan’s [Johar] birthday the next day, so my mother and I bought a gift for him. Next morning, before I went for the shoot, she left for a walk and never came back. It was very traumatic because just a day before we had reached there and three days later, after she met with an accident, we were bringing her back in a coffin. It was devastating for me.”
One person who was by Juhi’s side in this difficult phase was Shah Rukh and she says perhaps that’s one of the reasons she knows him so well. “He was the person who consoled me, as he had seen his parents pass away before that and knew the pain of losing a parent. So, he was trying to make me laugh and forget things.”
Days after her mother’s demise, Juhi recalls that it still took her a long time to come to terms with reality. “I went through the mourning period but then I realised that the only way to come back to life was to go back to work and I did go back for Duplicate and Yes Boss—both were with Shah Rukh. Soon, I would look forward to the day because I knew I’d see him [SRK] there and somehow he’ll be fun and I’ll forget for that while what has happened and be okay with it as a bad dream. So in a way, he was special because he could just help me through that very difficult time of my life. So I have bitter sweet memories of this film.”
Ask her if she’s aware of the fact that Shah Rukh had taken a salary cut for Duplicate , Juhi says she doesn’t remember him telling her anything about this. “[Also] at that time, I was very young, so I didn’t go into all these things. I didn’t realise maybe, or he didn’t mention it to me. But he was a joy to work with,” says Juhi, adding how SRK would help everyone on the sets. “He would be very helpful. Even the director and producer would feel reassured that Shah Rukh is there, so things would go fine. He will work out the scenes, will help write and rehearse them,” says the actor.
Sharing another anecdote from Duplicate sets, Juhi reveals that often Karan Johar used to rewrite the scenes. “If ever we felt that a scene wasn’t written well, Karan would actually sit down and write it for us. He wasn’t really assisting in the film but he was always around on the sets. He’s very gifted with scenes, especially those involving high profile people, so there were quite a few that he helped us with,” quips Juhi.
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