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Firoz Nadiadwala: Priyan did not even complete first film

Updated on: 13 August,2021 08:33 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shaheen Parkar |

Fed up of Priyadarshan stating he turned down Hera Pheri 2, producer reveals what went on behind 2000 laugh riot; claims director’s cut was "full of depressing scenes"

Firoz Nadiadwala: Priyan did not even complete first film

Hera Pheri was a sleeper hit on its release

When it released, Hera Pheri (2000) left the audience in splits, and became a cult Bollywood comedy. But two decades on, producer Firoz A Nadiadwala reveals that the making of the Priyadarshan-directed venture was no laughing matter for his producer-father AG Nadiadwala and him. Recently, Priyadarshan stated that he had turned down the offer to direct Phir Hera Pheri (2006). Fed up of the director’s constant barbs that the Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal-starrer did not deserve a sequel, Nadiadwala says he is now compelled to open Pandora’s box.  

“I kept mum all these years out of respect for Priyan, and because the film became a blockbuster. But he has left no opportunity to run down my father and me. How can he talk about turning down our offer to direct the second and upcoming third part, when he did not even complete the first film?” Nadiadwala maintains that the iconic characters of Raju, Ghanshyam, and Baburao were not a result of Priyadarshan’s vision. “He gave me a film with a runtime of three hours and 40 minutes. His version was full of depressing scenes; a lot of the humorous dialogues were deleted. He was absent during the background music recording, and dubbing.”

Also Read: Paresh Rawal: Nothing vulgar about his comedies

Firoz Nadiadwala and PriyadarshanFiroz Nadiadwala and Priyadarshan

Nadiadwala claims the real work on the comic caper began after Priyadarshan’s “disappearance” as he completed the film with the cast, late writer-director Neeraj Vora, and choreographer Ahmed Khan. At the edit table, the movie was condensed to a sharp 130-minute runtime, and two songs — Jab bhi koi haseena and Tun tunak tun — were added. In what might come as a shock to fans, Nadiadwala says that Priyadarshan’s version was not a comedy, but the story of an economically challenged family. He credits Vora for turning the film around. “He added a lot of punchlines. We deleted the sad scenes. We did a lot of improvisations during the dubbing and editing to make it what the audience knows it by today.”  

The problems did not end there. After Nadiadwala announced the film’s release date, a filmmaker from Punjab claimed that he had the Hindi remake rights of the Malayalam film, Ramji Rao Speaking (1989), on which Hera Pheri was based. “At no point had Priyadarshan told us that he had sold the rights to another filmmaker.” The producer had to fly to Chandigarh to settle the matter.

Later, Nadiadwala’s sister, Noorie, held a screening of the movie for Priyadarshan and his family in Chennai. “He did not tell her how he abandoned the project midway. This was the first time he watched the final cut, which was completely different from what he had [given]. The film, which the audiences saw, was the director’s cut in the sense that the director was cut from the final version,” he says sarcastically, adding that Priyadarshan tried to “convince the actors to say no” to the sequel.

Also Read: Hera Pheri turns 21: Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Gulshan Grover get nostalgic

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