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Manojji misunderstood our intentions: Farah Khan

Om Shanti Om might be a big hit. But Farah Khan tells Vajir Singh that every morning she wakes up wondering who’s going to turn her into a punching bag next.

entertainment Updated: Nov 26, 2007 11:28 IST
Vajir Singh
Vajir Singh
Hindustan Times

OSO is a huge hit. But Farah Khan admits that even today she wakes up every morning wondering who’s going to turn her into a punching bag next. We gave her a chance to pull a few punches too and she did with laughing aplomb. Catch the choreographer-filmmaker in a candid tête-à-tête with Vajir Singh.

Let’s begin with all those clichéd questions you’ve been answering for the past so many weeks..
You mean like why did I cast Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om?

Bang on. So why did you? <b1>
(Laughs) It’s obvious to anyone who’s seen the movie. May be that’s why this question is off the list now. Deepika’s sensational! Even the kids love her. A friend’s child refused to enter the auditorium post interval because Shanti was dead. He had to be dragged in with the promise that she’d be back.

The next question would undoubtedly be: would you ever work without Shah Rukh Khan?
Yup. Why should I? He gave us a cult film like Chak De! India and immediately followed it up with another superhit, OSO for which he’s done everything mental.. from wearing a chaddi over his superhero costume to flaunting his six-packs and going atti patti katti. OSO could never have been made without SRK.

Got it. So what’s the difference between choreographing a song and directing a film?
(Laughs uproariously) I love this game. By now I can answer these questions in my sleep. This undoubtedly was the most inane. A choreographer is like a nanny.. cares for the baby, sure. But it’s someone else’s baby. A director is like a mother.. she’s always on her toes.. all day,everyday. The director has to decide where the scene comes in and at what point the song should cut in.

Sounds exhausting.
It is. But also very fulfilling.That’s why I’m not going to be a part-time choreographer any longer, but a full-time director.

Lock kiye jaye?<b2>
Ummm.. okay.. unless an international project comes up.

What if Shah Rukh Khan wants you to choreograph a song for him?
That’s unlikely since he and my husband (Shirish Kunder) are constantly urging me to quit choreography now that I’ve become a top-ranking director.

Now for the last of those clichés.. how does it feel to be the first commercially successful woman director?
(Laughs) How do men feel? Great, I guess, since everyone from Bihar to Birmingham loved OSO.

Not everyone. Some have been calling it ‘mindless masala’?
So why don’t they try writing a similar brainless script? They’d know it’s no joy ride. It’s easier to take stories from English literature and adapt them.

It’s even easier to just lift a Hollywood hit given that you have the largest DVD collection in the industry.
Not me, my brother Sajid (Khan). He has the largest collection of almost every bad movie ever made.

Name a few of these horrors.
You want me to spark off another controversy?

I’m told both Sajid and you rank Manoj Kumar’s


amongst your favourites.

I must have seen


30 - 40 times and Sajid; more than a 100 times. We know every dialogue from




even the lines of the junior artistes.

You’re saying


is a classic like



It is.. though


is an acquired taste. Not everyone likes it. But Sajid and I do. I’m a big fan of Manoj


’s and was really crushed that hewas upsetwith us over the



After this,will you ever dare to spoof another yesteryear star?
I don’t think I’ll make another film based on our film industry. OSO’s humour was very tongue-in-cheek and completely without malice. We made digs at Sooraj Barjatya, Govinda, Akshay (Kumar), Abhishek (Bachchan) and even Shabana (Azmi) too. They took it sportingly and even joined in the fun. Manojji misunderstood our intentions. But our sincere apologies convinced him that we didn’t mean any harm.

Will this stop Sajid from being irreverent on his shows?
I don’t think he’d listen even if I tried. He’s been doing it for years. Personally, I find his show wonderful. In America, they make fun of their President and he takes it in his stride.We Indians too need to develop a sense of humour.

I’m sure Shah Rukh Khan didn’t need much convincing to wear an over-sized chaddi over his superhero costume.
He didn’t. It was an embarrassing day for him.We had about 200 visitors on the sets. Some were from the IT industry and some from the American Embassy. And they all wanted to click pictures with him.

The buzz is that Shirish Kunder will be directing Shah Rukh Khan in a comedy. True?
Shirish and SRK are the two people I love the most in this world. I’d be really happy if they got together.. nowor later.

What’s happening to Happy New Year?
Half the script is ready. If I can complete the other half to my satisfaction, it will be my next project. But the next one year will be only for my babies. They’re very filmi already.

What do you mean?
I was working on OSO all through my pregnancy. Every morning I’d get up with a nasty bout of morning sickness. But the moment I reached the sets I’d be fine.

Have you seen Saawariya?
Not yet. It’s awkward going to theatre when you’re in the last stages of pregnancy. I haven’t even seen Chak De! India. Shimit’s (Amin) promised to send me a DVD.

You could get a pirated DVD of Saawariya too.
(Smiles) I want everyone to go to the theatre.. and watch Saawariya.

Did the hype surrounding OSO and Saawariya really bring in the crowds?
In the case of OSO we were expecting a huge opening.. and we got it. I don’t know if it helped them.

Finally, how does it feel to be on the top of the world?
Scary! Every morning I scan the newspaper nervously wondering who’s going to abuse us now.

First Published: Nov 24, 2007 19:39 IST