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‘Now I’ll have to think of original ideas'

Noted filmmaker Priyadarshan on casting matters, upcoming movies and allegations of plagiarism, in conversation with Hiren Kotwani.
By Hiren Kotwani | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 17, 2008 06:02 PM IST

Veteran director Priyadarshan is back with Mere Baap Pahle Aap. Hiren Kotwani chats up the director.

Mere Baap Pehle Aap

is about a boy arranging the marriage of his widowed father. It’s a concept quite alien to our culture. So will it strike the chord with conservative masses?


This is no ordinary father. He’s been taking care of him since he was a little boy. And now when he’s all grown-up, the son wants to reunite him with his former flame. It’s a sweet film and when you see it, you’ll understand why he’s justified in wanting to get his father married again.



Another film with Akshaye Khanna and Paresh Rawal. Are you the terrible trio or what?


(Laughs) I guess we are. But the reason I’m repeating the two is that they trust me implicitly and never question me. The only person who had so much faith in me was Salman Khan. He went with me on

Kyon Ki..

but the film didn’t work. I’ll make it up to him some day.



Aren’t you planning another film with Salman?

I can’t confirm that till we lock the script. ( Laughs ) I can’t let him down again, he may not give me another chance.



There’s also a film with Ajay Devgan?

Oh, we’re still discussing ideas. During

Malamaal Weekly

, Riteish Deshmukh had said that he had no idea what you were up to when filming.



Do you expect your actors to follow you blindly?

I’m a bad narrator so may be most actors don’t follow what I’m doing. That’s why I work with only those who are ready to go with my conviction.



How then did you convince Shah Rukh Khan to give the nod to

Biloo Barber

?

(Laughs) Maybe this once my narration was up to the mark. I had met with earlier with another subject. But at the time he was busy with the IPL and didn’t have time to spare.



During the course of the conversation, I mentioned

Biloo Barber

. He liked the story and said he would produce it too. That way he could work out the dates. Tabu and Juhi Chawla had earlier declined the role of Irrfan Khan’s wife in

Biloo Barber

. Even Ameesha Patel turned it down saying it wasn’t much of a role.



How did you convince Lara Dutta to take it on?

These actresses had their own reasons for refusing the film. But eventually I got a bigger star. And Lara’s not a decorative prop.



Wasn’t the release of

Mere Baap Pehle Aap

pushed back to avoid clashing with the IPL. But now you will be taking on the rains?

The rains don’t worry me because they don’t make all that difference to the collections. But IPL was big competition. Every match was exciting.



You’re making a film forVenus featuring Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal. Is it on the lines of

Hera Pheri

?

No, only the actors are the same, the characters are poles apart.



What did you think of the

Hera Pheri

sequel?

It wasn’t happening. I don’t believe in the concept of sequel. That’s why I refused the film.



Allegations of plagiarism have been often levelled against you. It happened even with

Bhool Bhulaiya.

If one of my south Indian films work I don’t see any harm in remaking it in Hindi. (Chuckles) But now I’ve run out of south Indian inspirations. I’ll have to think of original ideas for my next films.



Why’s happening with

Kaanjeevaram

, your realistic movie on the lives of the workers?

It’s ready but there are few takers for such films. So I will be releasing it with only 10 prints. I’m very proud of the film, it’s one of my most satisfying works.



What’s with the new hairstyle?

(Laughs) I was losing hair so I got myself this cut. But my mother doesn’t like it. So now I’m going back to the old one.



Apparently you’ve now become a citizen of Singapore?

No, I just go to Singapore quite often. My two children are studying in a school there. And I have a house there.

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