Of macho films and Farah Khan's debut

If Farah Khan's debut film "Main Hoon Na" appears to be macho then blame it on her brother Sajid.

"I was brought up with my brother, so I've been one of the boys. I've never been feminine and delicate," Farah grins.

"Even the films I like are hardcore commercial stuff. So no one expected me to make a girlie-girlie film. I'd be happy to be recognized as more than just a choreographer."

Glad that no one looks at her as a first-time director, Farah considers herself
"halfway there" as she is already a dance director. In fact, "Main Hoon Na" will be judged on par with all the other biggies this year, she points out.

Farah hopes her film will rake in huge profits not for herself but for her producer Shah Rukh Khan.

"My responsibility was to make a film that would do really well. And since he's the film's producer I felt responsible towards Shah Rukh the producer rather than the star," Farah says.

"He's spoilt me. He got me the moon when I only wanted the earth. When I told him my film's budget was Rs. 120 million he laughed at me: 'It can't be any less than 200 million.'"

Recalling that Shah Rukh Khan asked her not scrounge on the production, Farah asserts, "I want Shah Rukh to make lots of money out of "Main Hoon Na". it would make me the happiest person in the world."

Farah describes "Main Hoon Na" as an amalgamation of all the films she grew up watching.

"It's the quintessential formula film. There are so many influences in my direction, from Nasir Husain to Ramesh Sippy. Since today's generation knows nothing about them it's time to bring them out," she notes.

"It would take a film buff to know that the two brothers Ram Prasad Sharma and Laxman Prasad Sharma in "Main Hoon Na" are straight out of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's "Gol Maal" and the heroine's name Chandni Chopra is a tribute to Yash Chopra.

"A lot of the background music is a tribute to another one of my childhood idols - R.D. Burman. But at the end of the day "Main Hoon Na" is entirely my film."

For the pivotal role of Shah Rukh's brother Farah initially wanted Hrithik Roshan.

She had approached him while choreographing for "Kaho Na...Pyar Hai" and Hrithik was excited about the role. But problems with dates had forced her to change the decision.

"I approached Sohail Khan but there were issues. Zayed Khan came in when I was desperate. I had to shoot in the college in Darjeeling in December and it was already October. Every night Shah Rukh, his wife Gauri and I would go through a list of potential siblings. I even thought of Farhan Akhtar," Farah recalls.

She is, however, thrilled with Zayed Khan. "There was something about him on screen. When he smiles you forgive Zayed everything," Farah recounts.

"More than me it was Shah Rukh who nurtured Zayed. I'd get impatient with him and whack him on the head. Shah Rukh took him under his wings. On screen you can see Shah Rukh's fondness for Zayed, just like for Kajol and Rani."

When Farah talks about her action scenes she lights up. "He (Shah Rukh) kept jumping all over the cables. On the last day he was hanging out of a chopper for half an hour," she recalls.

"He has done most of the stunts himself. Now I've got knots in my neck. Making "Main Hoon Na" was an exhausting but satisfying experience. The hype that follows is OK. But the high was over on the last day of my sets."

Farah's already thinking of what to make next. "There was a story I wrote before Shah Rukh's back problem. Now I'll develop that. It will be completely different from "Main Hoon Na". But again very massy. Why should I make films I don't enjoy watching?" she muses.

Why indeed.