It is after a long gap, post John Abraham-starrer Force, that you are back with Lai Bhari. How did this film happen?
Actually, Riteish Deshmukh and I were planning to make a film since a long time. One day we happened to get hold of a story written by film-maker Sajid Nadiadwala which he had been wanting to make in Hindi. I was impressed and asked if I could make it. After Sajid gave the green signal, it was a collective decision with producer Jitendra Thackeray and Ameya Khopkar also liking the story. This was about one and a half years back and since this was Riteish’s acting debut in Marathi films, it had to be the best. So, in the credits we have Ritesh Jha’s screenplay, dialogues by Sanjay Pawar, who wrote the dialogue for my first award-winning film Dombivli Fast and music by Ajay-Atul.
Riteish, who is a successful actor in Hindi films, makes his acting debut with Lai Bhari which he is also producing. How was he both as an actor and producer?
As Riteish has never acted in a Marathi film, he was quite nervous in the initial days of shooting. He took a couple of days to settle down. But as his mother tongue is Marathi and being an experienced actor, he sailed through easily.
As for being a producer, it was Riteish’s call that Genelia Deshmukh would be handling the reins. For her, it is just a title. She is a dear friend and has worked with me in Force. I am also glad of the support of Zee Marathi.
You also have Salman Khan in the film.
Salman has just done a special appearance. In fact he met Riteish while the shooting was on in Hyderabad and said, “Arre yaar, mere ko bhi ek scene karna hai.” And all of us were like “wow”. We are thankful to him. It is a fun scene between the two of them, as they are drunk. Salman speaks Marathi extremely fluently, so he spoke the dialogues himself.
Lai Bhari seems to be an out-an-out commercial film.
When we set out to make a film, all of us decided to make an out-an-out commercial product. In fact, I had been thinking of trying my hand in the commercial space though I have done it with Force. But this time it is is very different. Hence Lai Bhari has all the necessary elements; like song, dance, romance and the routine. There is a fantastic holi song and a Lord Vithoba’s pilgrimage song. There is a fun number showing the entry of the hero followed by a romantic as well as a seductive number. It is a complete album by Ajay-Atul.
The film is set to release next week and people are expecting a lot from you. Comment.
I am keeping my fingers crossed. I just want the film to do well and hope the audience likes it. I am not jumping the gun. I am as nervous and excited as everyone else. In fact, I need to prove it again. I cannot rest on my past laurels. I believe one has to put his best foot forward every time. And, since this time it is a different genre, we are all treading very cautiously. The biggest factor has been Riteish’s acting debut in Marathi. Hence we have tried to make it as viable and as spectacular as possible.
Talking about laurels, you won the National Award for Dombivli Fast. The hero of that film Sandeep Kulkarni is featuring in a film titled Dombivli Returns which apparently is not its remake. What do you have to say about it?
Sandeep did call me to tell me about the film. That’s about it. Unless I see the film, I cannot comment on that.
What next after this?
I always go by my instinct. No long term plans for me (laughs).