17 years of Refugee: JP Dutta reveals he used to stop Abhishek, Kareena from over eating
Filmmaker JP Dutta shares the best memories from the shoot of Refugee (2000), which marked Bollywood debut of actors Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor Khan.
Abhishek Bachchan’s earring in his debut film Refugee is hard to forget. And as the film completed 17 years recently [June 30], filmmaker JP Dutta reveals that the actor still blames that the earring bent his ear permanently. The film, which also marked the debut of actor Kareena Kapoor Khan, was a love story of two refugees.
“Abhishek wore an earring in the movie, which, till date, he maintains, has bent his ear,” says Dutta, adding, “I remember spotting Abhishek at his sister’s wedding. His face, and the way he carried himself caught my attention. Some time later, when I thought of making Refugee, I immediately thought of him. So I went and met Abhishek and Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan), and the rest is history.”
Going down memory lane, Dutta also recalls stopping his lead actors from eating way too much. “There was a Gujarati thali restaurant in the hotel where we stayed, and I had to stop all the actors from eating it everyday, so they would not put on weight,” he says.
As for Kareena’s character, the filmmaker says that no other actor could have essayed the role better. Dutta, who had worked as an assistant for Kareena’s father, Randhir Kapoor, says that luckily Kareena was free [at that time] and could make her debut with this film.
“Kareena is my guru’s daughter. She was to do another movie, which did not happen. I needed a young, innocent face for the role, so she became the natural choice for the film,” adds Dutta.
The filmmaker also shares that it took him quite a while to get Abhishek comfortable in front of the camera. In an attempt to make him feel free on screen, he shot all the running sequences first.
“I remember the initial days of shooting with Abhishek... I wanted him to be comfortable in front of the camera. So, I did all his running shots in the Rann of Kutch, where we were shooting first. I am sure he must have wondered why, at that time (smiles). We still laugh about it today,” signs off Dutta.
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