Exclusive - Sooraj Barjatya: Salman Khan was asked to leave studio because top star was recording
Hum Chaar, produced under the banner of Rajshri Productions releases on February 15. Talking exclusively about the film, Sooraj Barjatya spoke to mid-day.com and revealed the transition from family to friends, Salman Khan and much more
When one hears of a Sooraj Barjatya film, the first picture that comes in one's minds is that of a family satire. However, in a bid to walk with the trends, Barjatya experimented with Hum Chaar, which is produced under his banner Rajshri Productions but helmed by Abhishek Dixit. The filmmaker gave Hum Chaar, which is based on friends, a taste of his expertise - family touch! The filmmaker has also announced a film with his favourite, Salman Khan. Revealing some interesting tidbits about the Salman Khan film, Hum Chaar and other aspects, Sooraj Barjatya gets in an exclusive candid chat with mid-day.com.
You've done films like Hum Saath Saath Hain, Hum Aapke Hain Koun! and now Hum Chaar. So, is there any story behind using the word 'Hum' more often in your films' title?
This has got me thinking now, never thought about it in this manner. There is no connection. It's more about 'Hum' being 'We' and more about a family coming together.
For its first, you've made a film on friends, Hum Chaar by deviating from your core genre, which is family-driven films? Tell us something about this transition.
This film is directed by Abhishek Dixit and for quite some time now I have wanted to make a more contemporary film under the banner of Rajshri Productions. The films that I make are all family-oriented ones and for an age group of 35 and above. Even if the youngsters drop in to watch this film it is to show it to their parents and grandparents, which I accept because I know my audience. When I saw Gauri Shinde's films, Shoojit Sircar's films, I was thinking to myself if we could adopt something and make something contemporary with it by keeping our audience in mind. When director Abhishek narrated this script to me, I found the touch of a family film. He's the one who suggested can we expand family into friends. In this film, we are showing that family is not restricted to only blood relations. Anyone who makes you feel wanted is your family.
The trends in cinema keep changing. Do you think there is still an audience for family drama?
Yes, there is an audience. Badhaai Ho is a pure example of a family drama. Today, family films would not mean joint families. If at all I try and make everything nice and sweet amongst them, it won't work nor will the society believe. Now, a family is all about bonding. It's all about believing that if I require somebody, someone is there – it could be a pet, grandparent, father, brother or a friend or it could also be a life partner because loneliness is the greatest hurdle today. So, in that, if I know someone who is not judging me, who's there when I need someone and that is something that Rajshri represents. You can't expect 'sanskari bahus' (obedient daughters-in-law), you can't expect anything from everyone because everyone is doing their own. So, you have to respect that. Hum Chaar is my first bid of telling people that friends also have the same element as a family.
Sooraj Barjatya during this interview at his office. Picture Courtesy: Atul Kamble.
You launched Salman Khan and Bhagyashree from Maine Pyaar Kiya as main leads and now these youngsters from Hum Chaar. Do you, in any anyway, feel responsible for the careers of the talents you launch?
To that extent, I might be selfish but it's just that I have to do justice to the film, and if the film works, everyone's career is made. Even when we made Maine Pyaar Kiya, it was never that we are launching young talents, what's important is the film and Rajshri Productions.
Would you want to divulge into any other space in films?
In Rajshri we have done all kinds of films, be it on dancing, dacoit or action, there are films names that one might not even have heard of. But, none of them really worked. Under our banner what has worked with the public is the family genre and we are known for those six-seven films. Honestly, maybe we are blessed to only make such kinds of films. I personally feel that there are so many more stories in this area only. As makers, you must make what you believe in. I made a film called, Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon keeping in mind what all works and even shot the film in Switzerland. M.F Husain (Modern Indian Painter) saab went to watch this film on its first day and first show and he was somebody who watched Hum Aapke Hain Koun! 35 times but did not like Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon. He had said, 'I get to see such films outside. Why would I come to watch it in your name? We come to watch the script flowing like milk in your films.' Our banner represents an audience, who we want to be loyal to.
You've mostly had Salman Khan as Prem in your major films. The name Prem became a synonym to his personality. So, over the years how has your relationship evolved with Salman Khan?
From 30 years to Maine Pyaar Kiya and 32-years since I know him, what we were, remains the same. As a person, both of us haven't grown and the credit goes to him. With so much of success, he still remains what he is. For us, the equation is the same because our roots are very strong. We started at 20 when one was right at the bottom not knowing where life is going, to see his first shot, first failure, to see the first time when his voice was to be replaced in dubbing. To also seeing him being asked to leave the dubbing studio because a top star is recording... those roots are very strong. It's just that we are much more busy but whenever required we are always there for each other.
You made an announcement about making a film with Salman Khan. Tell us something more about that film?
It's going to take a while. This year I will be launching my son Avnish Barjatya as writer-director and that's a big responsibility for me. Once the script is through by February-March, then I will start writing Salman's script. However, the film is really far away right now but it will be a satisfying one.
Any actor from the current generation you would want to cast in any of your films?
All of them are so good, be it Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao and Nawazuddin Siddiqui – they are all brilliant. For me, it's the actor rather than the star.
We've always seen Salman leading your choice list.
I wish I could make movies like that. For me, I think of a subject and his (Salman Khan) face comes in my mind. I don't know how to describe this.
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