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Hansal Mehta: 'The failure of Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar broke me'

Updated on: 21 June,2024 02:36 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Hansal Mehta narrates how 'Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar' went from being an indie film to a commercial debacle with 6 songs

Hansal Mehta-directed Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar released in 2000

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Hansal Mehta: 'The failure of Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar broke me'

Key Highlights

  1. Hansal Mehta narrates how `Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar` was conceptualized
  2. The film`s scale changed after Manoj Bajpayee became popular post Satya
  3. Hansal Mehta reveals the film`s failure affected him hugely

Hansal Mehta directed 'Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar!!' which was released in the year 2000. Starring his good friend Manoj Bajpayee, along with Tabu and Saurabh Shukla, the film was a box office debacle. The film was about migrant life, centred on a village man moving to a big city to earn his living. 

In a recent conversation with Mid-day, Mehta described how the film came about and how Saurabh Shukla wrote the film. "Saurabh was working in a series called Rishtey, in a story about a fat man falling in love. It was called 'Ae Motey' - much before Bala and all these movies happened - it was about a man, who can't tell a woman because he's worried about his size. We were shooting that and Saurabh was a bit restless. He was upset about something going on in his professional life. So, I sat with him and said I have a story. 

"It was just a random story from something I had seen in the news. A couple was making out and they had kept a video camera on. Behind them there was a big blast, which they captured and that footage was sold to BBC. I thought it was a story - what if somebody who shoots marriages sees a contract killing? He has a friend who's a contract killer, and he says, I'll shoot it and sell it to the news channels. Saurabh agreed to write the film provided he got to play the videographer. It started that way," Hansal narrated.

What went wrong?

"Then I went to Manoj with the first draft and he said yes to the film. After which Satya released, and Manoj completely exploded on the scene. He was being signed by everyone. So, I had to re-narrate Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar to him. He said, 'You need to upgrade the film, increase the scale a bit, make it a little commercial'. So, then Tabu came in. There were no songs in the original script. We had to add songs, 6, no less! I feel that it had the indie spirit, an undercurrent, and every time a song would come, you would jump out of that. And that for me destroyed the film.

"That film's failure broke me. We put in our own money. By the time the film came out, things had gone downhill. And we lost some money on the film. All that just bogged me down. The reviews weren't good," he shared.

A scarring incident

The filmmaker also faced the heat for a dialogue in the film that was accused of hurting sentiments of a community. He was called to the village where he was born and forced to ask for forgiveness. "Danda Village, where I grew up, my janmabhoomi, I was called there, and they painted my face black and I had to touch a lady's feet for insulting their sentiments. This is way back in 2000. Before that, they had beat me up in my office and vandalized it. That incident scarred me in a big way," he narrated.

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