The new minister for Human & Resource Development, Smriti Irani, returns to her first next week when she joins the unit of Umesh Shukla’s All Is Well in Mashobra in Himachal Pradesh.
Having taken oath as a minister in the Narendra Modi government, Irani is also set to resume her shooting.
Director Umesh Shukla said, “Smriti Irani has already shot extensively with Rishi Kapoor and Abhishek. We are now shooting a song on a train with Abhishek and Asin. After that Smriti Irani is joining us for the rest of the shooting.”
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Umesh Shukla said that there is no clash of interest between the two roles of the actress and politician. “Even while Smriti Irani was contesting the elections she was very co-operative and professional. We never had to cancel a day’s shooting because of her. Even now when she’s a minister she has made no re-adjustments in the dates. She joins us as per schedule.”
Umesh Shukla informed, “Smriti Irani plays Rishiji’s wife and Abhishek’s mother. I cast her because she’s a good and under-used actress. I wanted someone who would look like a part of one family with Rishiji and Abhishek. And Smriti Irani blended in effortlessly. She has brought in a special feel to the family’s profile.”
Umesh Shukla is uncomfortable with all the hype that has suddenly erupted around the actress.
“After Smriti Irani’s induction into the new government I am being inundated with calls and messages about her presence in the film. But I don’t understand how things have changed for her in my film. She is still the same actress. We are not going to add scenes to cash in on her newly-acquired status. Nor would she ask us to cut her scenes to give her more time for politics. Smriti Irani is exactly the same person she was when she shot with us before elections. It’s the people around her who have changed.”
Interestingly, Smriti Irani is not the only parliamentarian from Narendra Modi’s government whom Umesh Shukla has cast.
In his next film Umesh ‘Oh My God’ Shukla’s has cast Amitabh Bachchan as a 102-year old man who wants to break the current world-record of longevity and the film also stars Paresh Rawal.
The two actors are expected to get comfortable with one another as the 102-year old father and 75-year old son through extensive rehearsals where prosthetics would be kept at a minimum.
Umesh Shukla wants the two brilliant actors to get the body language and the speech patterns of the peculiar parent-child pair without the props of prosthetics.
Revealing details of the project Umesh Shukla says, “Amitabh Bachchan plays a man who wants to break the records of the longest-living man in the world. There is a man in China who is 118 years old. Amitji’s character wants to live to be 120.”
Umesh Shukla describes ‘102 Not Out’ as funny and yet very sad and is written by Saumya Joshi, who is the brother of Abhijat Joshi, the writer of Raj Kumar Hirani’s Munnabhai series.
“Like my Oh My God, 102 Not Out is based on a very Gujarati successful play. I guess my connection with theatre refuses to die.”
But would Paresh Rawal find the time devote himself to such an arduous role and character? “102 Not Out will be made only with Bachchan Saab and Pareshji,” says Umesh firmly.