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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

First of Many: Rimi Sen revisits Hungama

This week's First of Many features Rimi Sen. In the 81st edition of our exclusive series, the actor talks about her first Bollywood project, Priyadarshan directed film Hungama (2003).

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi |
Updated: May 18, 2021 7:41:40 pm
rimi sen bollywood debut hungamaHungama released in 2003.

Rimi Sen recently made news for her honest confessions about her early years in Bollywood, how despite being part of blockbusters and working with the biggest stars, she did acting only for money. Rimi, who’s been around for nearly two decades, has done a slew of comedies and drama but wants to now try thrillers.

Some of Rimi’s most popular flicks include Kyon Ki, Deewane Huye Paagal, Phir Hera Pheri, Golmaal, Dhoom, Baghban and others. Post turning producer with National Award winning film Budhia Singh – Born to Run (2016), Rimi took a break from showbiz. Though the actor seems to be geared up for a second inning, we take her back to her acting debut in Bollywood, Priyadarshan directorial Hungama co-starring Akshaye Khanna, Paresh Rawal and Aftab Shivdasani, and how did it come her way.

Here’s what she shared:

What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?

I did a Coke commercial with Aamir Khan. After that I started getting movie offers and Hungama (2003) was one of them. I didn’t audition for that, I just had to meet Priyadarshan sir. All he asked me was if I knew swimming. I said I know it and he okayed me. I was surprised as it wasn’t a swimmer’s role, and wondered if this was how movies were signed. I think we met at Holiday Inn or something. He is very shy and I believe because he just had to ask me something, he asked about swimming. Now to think of it, after few years, I did his film Kyun Ki where I had to drown, maybe that’s why he asked me. (laughs).

Priyadarshan sir is very clear about what he wants, from casting to production. He’s a very sorted director.

What do you remember of your first day on set?

We went to Chennai to shoot. On the first day, I think there were Akshaye Khanna and Paresh Rawal around. It was one of the scenes at Paresh ji’s house in the movie. That was a time when Aftab Shivdasani was at the peak of his career too.

Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?

I’ve never been nervous. I’ve always been very confident about acting. But the timing of Akshaye and Paresh ji is so brilliant that it was a task to match with them. Priyadarshan sir is very easy with actors. He’ll come and explain in such a clear way, that you won’t even realise he just explained something! He knows how to extract a great performance from any actor. That’s his trait.

I worked with a lot of dedication, what was told to me, like an obedient student. There’s was never a complaint against me and people respected me a lot. Just that I had a diction problem. So in my initial films, my voice was dubbed. Rest, all was good.

hungama paresh rawal rimi sen akshaye khanna ftab shivdasani shoma anand Hungama starred Rimi Sen, Akshaye Khanna, Aftab Shivdasani, Paresh Rawal and Shoma Anand.

How was the rapport with your co-stars when you got to meet or work with them again later?

Since there were less number of actors in the industry back then, most of them got repeated and we kept meeting on different sets. So, I ended up working with Paresh ji in several films like Phir Hera Pheri. It was like a family. With Priyadarshan sir, after every movie, he moves on so quick (on to his next film) that you don’t get time to look back and ponder upon your past projects with him.

If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?

Even if I wish to improve anything, it won’t fit the bill as I tried to portray Anjali exactly how she was in Priyadarshan sir’s mind. And it worked really well. Just that my Hindi diction was bit of a problem. I wish I could dub for myself. Today, I might not do a comedy film, unless its content is good. Hungama had a good content, a situational timepass comedy, but it had one thing of mistaken identity. A good script was made around it.

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One film or role that inspired you to become an actor?

I remained studious in school and outside, I did part-time modelling due to a financial crunch at home. So, I didn’t have enough time to watch films while growing up. I’ve had a dead childhood because I was working so much that I wanted to take an early retirement.

Among what I liked recently, I can mention web series Delhi Crime. I liked Friends too. I like Anurag Basu films, Raju Hirani films. But, I’m a thriller person. Otherwise, on the sets too, I was never star struck. For me all were equals. If you ask me that one film I’d like to make my debut with, it would be Vidya Balan’s Kahaani. It was my type of film.

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