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Ashutosh Gowariker: Harman never took it easy for WYR



September 25, 2009 2:16:47 PM IST
Joginder Tuteja, Bollywood Trade News Network
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When LOVE STORY 2050 tanked at the box office, not many were willing to put their money on Harman Baweja. However Ashutosh Gowariker, who had already signed him on earlier for WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE?, continued to show his trust in the youngster. Even though there were voices around him that challenged his decision to persist with Harman, Ashutosh was unperturbed. He not just went on to complete the movie in quick time but also thoroughly supported his leading actor.

''Even before the release of LOVE STORY 2050, Sunita (my wife and co-producer of WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE?) and I did ask each other if the fate of Harman's debut flick would make any difference to our decision? The answer was 'No''', says Ashutosh Gowariker on being asked if he feared facing pressure to replace Harman after the release of LOVE STORY 2050.

''Why just LOVE STORY 2050, we were prepared even if VICTORY wouldn't have worked'', adds Ashutosh Gowariker who began shooting for the film even as things didn't quite look bright for Harman Baweja's second film, ''It's unfortunate that VICTORY didn't work but it's success or failure was never going to make any difference to our venture.''

CHECK OUT: WHATS YOUR RAASHEE Movie Review

Support also came from Ronnie Screwvala, whose UTV Motion Pictures has co-produced the film with Ashutosh Gowariker Productions. The film maker, who has brought about a corporate revolution in Bollywood and had the best success rate in 2008, supported Ashutosh Gowariker in his vision and decision and gave him a free hand when it came to choice of actors.

''Ronnie was always there behind the film and Harman. He too strongly feels that even if couple of movies did not work for Harman, he was always going to be someone who would go on to stay for a long time. Meanwhile we commenced the shoot for WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE? and never looked back'', says Ashutosh Gowariker who has moved from making historical (JODHAA AKBAR), period (LAGAAN : ONCE UPON A TIME IN INDIA) and socially relevant films (SWADES) to something much lighter and contemporary (WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE?).

CHECK OUT: HARMAN BAWEJA Interview

With two back to back flops, WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE? is actually being looked as a sort of re-launch for Harman. Did that put any extra burden on Ashutosh and his team?

''See, I am like a horse who wears blinkers and stays on a path defined for him'', says Ashutosh in a philosophical tone, ''Regardless of what happens on a Friday and regardless of what people have to say, Harman as well as I had to just stay true to our path and follow a certain vision. I worked on him only as much as it was required to get the characterization right, that's about it.''

Harman's knowledge about cinema, courtesy his formal education on film making from a Film Institute, helped as well.

CHECK OUT: Playing 12 roles is no ego boost

''That's right'', agrees Ashutosh, ''I remember my early interaction with Harman when his LOVE STORY 2050 was yet to be released. I learnt that he had spent a lot of time studying cinema in New York. Being the son of an established film maker (Harry Baweja), he could have afforded to take it easy and dreamt of being an overnight star. Still, he did everything to earn the craft and be skilful.''

There were a couple of other things that impressed Ashutosh enough to rope in Harman as his leading man even after working with established actors like Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan.

''On seeing the rushes of LOVE STORY 2050, I was immediately attracted to Harman's innocence and endearing quality'', says Ashutosh, ''Moreover, his passion and dedication for acting and performing showed. All of this contributed to me being completely convinced with the fact that he was just right for WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE? And once that decision was taken, I never ever lost confidence in him.''



 


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