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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

It was a nightmare working with Naseer: Shabbir Boxwalla

Shabbir Boxwalla, in an interview with Nilufer Qureshi, breaks his silence on the experience of producing Naseeruddin Shah's debut film as a director.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2007 16:55 IST
Nilufer Qureshi
Nilufer Qureshi

A genial man about town, he attempts to keep a low-profile, speaking when he's spoken to. Shabbir Boxwalla is close to several stars and is always on the look-out to produce a film which will make the audiences and the distributors happy.

He is aware that the ground rules have changed today and has, not surprisingly, hitched up with Suniel Shetty for film production.

Chances are that you may have also heard of him in the context of a controversy of sorts. Naseeruddin Shah, whose debut film as a director he produced, castigated the producer in print. Over to hearing out the producer's side.. on a variety of subjects:

What has gone wrong with your fim production company?
CAT productions still exists. If I like a script which (Suniel Shetty's) Popcorn doesn't want to make, I can go ahead with it under my banner. I have no intentions of shutting it down.<b1>

That still means you have joined hands with Suniel Shetty to produce films?
Today the filmmaking scenario has changed drastically. It is no longer feasible for an independent producer to survive. Everyone is uniting with someone. Suniel had a production company but his partners split.. so he asked me to come on board. He's a friend, now we're partners. Film production is what I know best, so the question of giving it up just doesn't arise.

After being independent, don't you feel duty bound?
No stress. Suniel and I've known each other for very long. He doesn't interfere in the production side at all. Whenever I need him as an actor, he's there for me.

But you haven't announced any films of late.. why the delay?
We have four films which will get going very soon. The delay has been due to some casting problems. Why start a project without getting every detail into place?

Whatever happened to Raaste which you had announced with Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Aishwarya Rai last year?
It's still happening but there is a delay. Abhishek's dates have to be sorted out. We need to time his dates with the BAJA races in Mexico, the film revolves around the race. <b2>

The director of your last film, Yun Hota To Kya Hota, Naseeruddin Shah doesn't exactly have positive things to say about you.
Believe me, all producers and directors have disagreements. I had major arguments with Rajiv Rai (Gupt and Pyaar Ishq aur Mohabbat) when we worked together. But sometimes arguments come out into the open, leading to rubbishy distortions.

It was unfair of Naseer to call me an ‘unreasonable idiot' in print. Of course, he had nothing to lose, but I lost Rs 3 crore on the film.

Why was it so terrible to work with Naseeruddin Shah? What exactly happened?
All I can say is that it was a terrible experience.. it was a nightmare. He is a very difficult man. I'm trying hard to erase the horrifying memory of Yun Hota To.. But I doubt if I will ever be able to erase it entirely.

First Published: Aug 13, 2007 11:40 IST