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Director's cut

Priyadarshan’s latest film is adapted from a Malayalam hit

PHOTO: R.V MOORTHY

Laugh a while Priyadarshan

The Malayalam film “Ishtam” directed by Sibi Malayil was a super hit comedy in 2002. And Priyadarshan says he “wanted to remake it in Hindi.” And so he did, as Mere Baap Pehele Aap. The story is the same, but obviously the screenplay and the characters are new. The film, a hilarious take on a son’s effort to marry off his widower father, comes with a message. Priyan, as the director is known, promises the message is in the final scenes.

Priyan has made the film shorter “by 20 minutes” and did quite a role reversal for many. For instance, “Naseeruddin Shah was supposed to play the father’s role that Paresh Rawal is playing now, “but Naseer didn’t have dates”. Paresh was supposed to play Mathur, the role that has now gone to Om Puri while Naseer is doing a cameo. Akshaye Khanna was decided upon earlier because “he has worked with me in Hungama and Hulchul. It’s not the actor I have faith in, but his performance. ” Priyan has a special way of working, and being arrogant is a part of that. “I am considered quite arrogant on the sets — a trait I maintain to make comedy seriously. My team never has a bash on the sets. I don’t allow singing, dancing joking while shooting. I believe, if the onlookers and the crew on the sets are laughing, then the audience will not laugh. If one acts while joking around, he exhausts his energy before I say ‘action’.”

Priyan is happier remaking southern hits in Hindi. “So limited are the budgets in southern cinema that a filmmaker like me often ends up compromising on the content, locations and good dubbing artistes. Earlier, within this budget, we used to make good films but now everything is expensive — from equipment to fabrics. Hindi cinema has more money. Mere Baap… is produced by Shemaroo, and they didn’t care about the budget. I don’t want to make regional films anymore. Bollywood is my home now,” says the filmmaker.

RANA SIDDIQUI

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