Can’t keep this Ghai down

hello brothers Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Zayed Khan in Yuvvraaj

hello brothers Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Zayed Khan in Yuvvraaj  

chatline Will Yuvvraaj revive Subhash Ghai’s fortunes at the box-office? harshikaa udasi talks to the director-producer

Yuvvraaj is quite a special film for director-producer Subhash Ghai. The last quintessential SG (that’s how he’s called by the fraternity) film was Kisna — not only a colossal loss-making venture but also completed more than three years ago. “You are known only by your last film, nobody cares that you have given 11 hits to the industry,” he says, cynicism evident in his voice. Obviously, Ghai wants Yuvvraaj to be a winner. “I had two responsibilities — to make the film a great commercial success and yet maintain realism in it, not make it a mindless entertainer. But now the film is made, I’ve lost perspective like everyone does,” he smiles.

Ghai knows his masala films from the world cinema style, “which I tried with Black N White,” he says, and he has been around for enough time to make out the duds from the hits. But just this once, he is unsure. “Frankly, even I can make a Welcome or a Singh is Kinng; I have done that kind of stuff with Kalicharan and Vishwanath. But since I am responsible for my cinema students too, I can’t do just that. At the same time, I don’t want only niche audiences. This time, I am aiming for a full house,” says this determined man.

The plot

Yuvvraaj tells the story of three brothers for whom the love for money takes precedence over respect for their relationship. Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Zayed Khan play the three siblings. Salman needs the large inheritance to marry Katrina; Zayed desperately wants it to support his extravagant lifestyle, while Anil (playing an idiot savant) is totally detached from it. To the filmmaker, it is some sort of a look back at his 1988 super hit film Ram Lakhan, “I made that story of two brothers who could do anything for each other’s love. In ten years, times have changed. This is a story of three brothers who only believe in display of brotherhood.”

The most talked about point is the casting coup he has pulled off with Salman and Katrina. “I didn’t pick Katrina because she is Salman’s girlfriend,” he shoots me down. So I ask him my originally intended question: Katrina may have the hits but has frankly has had no space to act; is this going to be different? “Honestly, I wish I could have given her a meatier role as I usually give my actresses. But she has a limited screenplay as this is a story of the three brothers.”Ask him about Salman Khan and working with the actor and he is all praise. For your information, the showman and the actor had an ugly public fight seven years ago when they decided not to work with each other. But a lot has changed since then. “He has been very obedient and looked upon me as a senior. Yes, he is blunt and speaks his mind. Even for the publicity of the film, I had to coax him. He warned me he could never say only nice things about a film,” he chuckles.

As for the Sallu-Kat chemistry, Ghai says the audience will get to see it as it happens in real life. “They are in love and I have seen them behave the same since I signed both of them a year and a half ago. They keep fighting but their love is five years old, just like I have introduced them on screen. They would always laugh when I would give them dialogues or scenes to interpret, for, it was so close to what they had done in real life — whether it was the fighting, the hitting or the emotional scenes,” he reveals. Big stars, real-life chemistry between the lead pair, exotic locations (set in Prague), grand music and sets, but the plot is no different. “Stories revolve around vendetta, love, union-reunion, greed, crime and punishment, and very rarely a Taare Zameen Par comes up. Whatever the plot we have, I have not compromised on the feel of the film. I have given it the look of a Broadway show in the beginning to make it different,” he says.

Ghai’s trying his best in a world where the FSS (weekend or Friday-Saturday-Sunday) syndrome has overtaken all other criteria. “Really it’s the first time I have to face the challenge of the popcorn movies with three stars, two sex scenes, beach shots and item songs, and the weekend syndrome. My 120 days of work are awaiting a verdict in three days.”

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