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|October 12, 2000||
A huge statue of Ravan was being erected at Bombay's Shivaji Park grounds. And Mahesh was right there in the thick of things, determined it had to be done that day itself.
Mahesh Manjrekar is worried.
What exactly did happen at the Astitva premier?
I didn't expect so many people at the theatre. It was a free screening for women. And the response was overwhelming. We just had to call in the police.
You have made a comedy after making serious films like Vaastav, Nidaan and Astitva. Why the shift?
It is an emotional film. People might think otherwise with Govinda in it.
But JDMGRH is an out-and-out commercial film…
All my films are commercial.
What is your assessment of Govinda?
He is the best. The best one could find in the industry. Very spontaneous. Give him any role -- comedy, action, anything -- he does a good job of it.
Not at all. I thought I made the film in decent time. I never thought I would do it, but it happened. Good for me!
It was reported that you made Govinda come on the sets on time too…
I did not make him, he just came on time.
Prem che has become quite a hit now. Tell us about its genesis.
The music director, Anand Raaj Anand, had the song already with him. I heard it once. I needed to create a situation so the song would not look out of place. Fortunately, I did and I grabbed the song.
To go back a little, your second film Nidaan didn't do well at the box office despite being liked and called educational. Do you think there is a market for such kind of films?
Well, it is only natural to hope that all your films do well.
Do you think if you had stars in Nidaan, it might have done well?
That's true, stars do get in the audience.
Did you always have Tabu in mind for Astitva?
Not really -- I wanted to make the film in Marathi, too. I had approached some other actresses who knew Marathi.
How do you strike a balance between parallel cinema and commercial potboilers?
I don't make commercial potboilers. But I do make commercial films.
How true are the rumours that the producers of JDMGRH are trying to sell Grahan as a package deal?
I don't know how the commerce works here. I am here to make a film for my producer. I am totally unaware of the business aspect of film making. So I am not sure about Grahan and JDMGRH.
What do you have to say about the recent controversy of Tera Mera Saath Rahein with Sushmita Sen?
That was blown out of proportion. They made Sushmita look a villain, which she was not. She just had some doubts about the role. I could not clear them for her. And I can't change the role because my script is bound.
Did she ask you to change the role?
No, but she did say that she had her doubts. I asked her not to do it in that case -- I don't want any actor with doubts on my sets.
How do deal with so much media attention so suddenly?
Sometimes, it tires me. But it is a no-win situation. There was a time when I wanted to be written about.
What are your other projects?
I am producing a film with Sony called Pyar Kiya Nahi Jaata, with Sonali Bendre and a newcomer in the male lead. Then, of course, there is Tera Mera Saath Rahein with Ajay Devgan and Sonali Bendre.
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