November 6 2015
The anticipation of next week’s Diwali blockbuster release is too much even for some hardened journos…
AN INTREPID assembly of journalists from the Asian media gathered to participate in a video conference with Bollywood superstars Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor, earlier this week.
The subject under discussion was their forthcoming film, “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”, (PRDP), a blockbuster Diwali 2015 release directed by Sooraj R Barjatya.
The director is reuniting with Salman Khan after his 1999 film, “Hum Saath Saath Hain” (‘We Are All Together’).
This family film is already generating huge excitement in the run up to its release next week.
The title track is the UK number 1 on the Sunrise Radio Bollywood Top 10 music chart, so not unsurprisingly, the presenter, Farah Ahmed or ‘Glitzy Farah‘ – as is her tweet moniker, would have it – gets the chance to ask the first question and before she could blurt out what that might be, Salman Khan got really excited, hearing she was from the said radio station.
He began to say that he used to visit the Southall-based radio station, but bemoaned the fact that for the last 10 years he has not been able to get a visa to come to London – disappointing many of his fans, not to mention lost opportunities for the British film industry which relies on an ongoing slew of Bollywood and other Indian cinema productions that come over regularly.
(The reasons for the refusal of a visa are so clouded and murky that www.asianculturevulture.com is loathe to speculate). The last time he was denied a visa, was for the shooting of his 2014 film “Kick” (so, it moved to Poland).
He said that he missed London where he is also missed by his fans, as the press cognoscenti who had loads of questions for him and his co-star, told him.
Finally, Ahmed got a word in edgeways and she enquired: “So, is this a clean and family entertainment type film?”
“Some moments, are not so clean, they are naughty, sweet, cute, ticklish”, responded the quick-witted Khan, who himself was in a truculent frame of mind, flirting and sparring with the press core, via the scratchy video conference.
“It’s what every guy should do for a girl,” said Khan at Monday’s (November 2) conference.
The film, directed by Barjatya, is by Rajshri Productions – a company which has a signature of making these large scale family films and the tag line in Hindi goes: “Every family has its problems, but, blessed are those who have a family.”
Khan, plays the role of Prem – one of the favourite names of Barjatya and this name has been used in every single one of his films, with Khan playing several ‘Prems’ since he began with the director, in the romantic musical, “Maine Pyar Kiya”, 1989, (‘I have loved’), which launched him as a star.
“I am here because of Sooraj Barjatya”, Khan said, revealing that when the 19-year-old director was beginning his career, he had asked for Khan – also a relative newcomer at the time with a supporting role in one film (“Biwi Ho To Aisi”), and as he candidly put it, “we all knew that I sucked in the movie” — and refused to settle for known names.
The rest is history – the film became a mega hit and so began the partnership between the two men that has endured over two decades.
“I am here because of Prem,” he told another reporter. “This Prem is lovelier, and he’s very childlike. Sooraj is a mature and romantic man and wants all men to be like Prem.”
The actors were then asked to name their favorite song from the film, as the title song, has certainly made an impact. Another, titled, “Prem Leela” is one of the favourite’s of Sonam Kapoor.
Through a roll call of questions distributed evenly among the people around the table – it almost seemed like a conference, we learnt that – shooting was fun, and every day was beautiful because they were in a holy place, as much of the film was shot in Ayodhya.
Haroon Rashid, entertainment reporter at the BBC Asian Network, praised Kapoor for her Instagram page and stylish marketing approach.
As she explained, that when she spoke with the marketing team at Fox, they mentioned that people were finding it the title, “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” a bit of a mouthful, and they needed to come up with a fun way to talk about it.
To cut a long story short, she came across “a really cute guy who did this dubsmash on PRDP” which she put on her Instagram page, and then things escalated when a friend from New York told her to run a competition. “It was easy to do and people loved doing it as the title track has a great rhythm.”
There is also one featuring her aunt Sridevi and actor, Shilpa Shetty – here.
As a result, the title song has received a lot of play on social media, and if you want to see the full range, just go to Sonam Kapoor’s Instagram account.
Kapoor was also asked what it was like to work with a big star, although the first time they worked together was in her debut film, “Saawariya”, (2007).
She confessed, she was nervous, but said: “The best thing about him professionally is that he is the most hardworking actor, he pushes himself and he is extremely talented.
“He’s also very modest. Also, professionally it’s easier to work with someone who doesn’t judge you in any way. I remember when I was messing up he’d come and tell me really nicely, he has a lot of patience.”
Khan is something of a phenomenon, and apart from his film career, he is enjoying huge popularity as the host for the current Colors TV show, “Big Boss”, (India’s version of “Big Brother”).
At the end of the session, Farah Ahmed took it upon herself to pop the question to Salman Khan, reciting pure Hindi movie dialogue, Mujshe shaadi karoge? (Will you marry me?)
“I am not the right kind of man for you,” Khan sighed.
Perhaps Ahmed should look to Prem!
When we were in Cannes earlier this year, we were able to interview Sonam Kapoor…[youtube width=”500″ height=”500″ video_id=”tnSmVJ0xhZ8″]