Tiff between Ramdoss and Rajni continues

By IANS
2/11/2004 12:00:00 AM

Main Meri Patni Aur WohHe's soft-spoken to the point of not being distinguishable in a crowd - just like the wannabe Madhuri Dixit in Chandan Arora's first film 'Main Madhuri Dixit Banana Chahti Hoon' or Mithilesh Shukla in 'Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh'.

Chandan Arora makes movies he believes in.

'Both my films so far are grassroot fables. Madhuri Dixit was about a small town girl's starry dreams. My new film is about a man who's insecure about his height and position in life. Either way, my protagonists are people who could be sitting in a theatre in Bhagalpur on Chandanpur, living out a dream through characters who dare to dream.'

Chandan shocks you by revealing that 'Main Madhuri Dixit...' had gone over-budget.

'Yes! The film might not have looked posh by the city-slick standards of the average multiplex product. But we made several location shifts shot mostly outdoors.

'Ramu is the kind of producer who doesn't think twice about budget shifts. If we needed 10 extra days of shooting, we just did it. That's how flexible things are with Ramu.'

The budget was far more inflexible the second time.

'For UTV, we decided to be far more economical. I guess I've grown since 'Madhuri',' the film editor-turned-director told IANS.

'The entire film has been shot on location in Lucknow in 32 days. We didn't allow a single moment to be wasted... This film had to pay for itself. Credit for this must go to Rajpal.

'Being from a small town -- I've lived in Mumbai all my life -- Rajpal was able to give invaluable inputs in both my films. I don't think 'Main, Meri Patni...' could've been possible without Rajpal.'

Chandan gets slightly emotional as he talks about his favourite actor.

'I don't know whether casting Rajpal is a risk. I just had to cast him. Though 'Main Madhuri...' was Antara Mali's film, he walked away with a lot of recognition.

'That's one of the reasons why I decided to design my second project around Rajpal's personality. The character is meant to be physically deficient. If Rajpal wasn't short, I'd have altered the character according to the actor's shortcoming, whatever it might be.

Main Meri Patni Aur Woh'That's how much faith I've in him. It doesn't matter if Rajpal does not suit the definition of a conventional hero. I don't make conventional films anyway.'

What kind of success is Chandan looking for?

'UTV is giving 'Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh' a piecemeal release. They test the waters with about 45 prints and then proceed further.

'Am I nervous? Not really. I've waited a while to get this project going.

'In between I was supposed to make a metro-centric thriller, 'Table No. 3', about a waiter who overhears a murder plan. Of course Rajpal Yadav was supposed to play the protagonist. But that didn't happen,' Arora said.

'Now when my second film is finally ready, I feel I've done exactly what I wanted to. I don't want to make the films that are expected of Ramu's prot?g?. I want to surprise myself by constantly searching for ways to extend my line of creative vision.'

What next?

'A sci-fi film or something with lots of action. I need to rustle up more energy on screen. 'Madhuri Dixit' was a swipe at the make-believe world of cinema. I don't want to become part of that grand illusion.

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Movie Review: Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh