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February 26, 2002
Subhash K Jha
He has the hit Raaz under his belt. But on the sets of his next release, Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage at Mumbai's NSC Grounds at Goregaon, director Vikram Bhatt looks like a little boy lost.
Looks, of course, can deceive. Vikram is the guy in charge here. He is taking it a bit easy for now because it is a climax, which calls for the action director.
Not a simple task, that --- there are too many distractions. The set represents a street with a fleet of cars lined up bumper-to-bumper. Hero Hrithik Roshan is expected to battle the baddies on the makebelieve pitch. Right now, he is putting on the bloodied makeup in his van.
Producer Rohit Kumar (who tried to be a leading man --- remember Aazmayish? --- and then a television star in Basera), stands around milling crowds of junior artistes, hangers-on and visitors.
As Vikram's father, cinematographer Pravin Bhatt, sets his equipment, Vikram relaxes. "The number of offers I have got after Raaz is unbelievable," he says. That very morning, Vikram attended the mahurat of his new Amitabh Bachchan-Bipasha Basu-John Abraham starrer.
So will Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage be as huge a hit as Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, as Amisha Patel is said to have predicted? Vikram says, dismissively, "It will do well, I guess. But nothing like Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, please!"
I tell him the music of Aap Mujhe… is disappointing. Vikram's expression changes: "Ah, that means it will be a hit. You hated the music of Raaz, remember?"
A wiry guy with a nervous twitch in his eye who looks suspiciously like Amisha suddenly materialises before us. Vikram predicts, "He will eventually be a hero. Right now, he is learning the ropes of filmmaking." The man turns out to be Amisha's brother.
Coffee arrives. I cringe from sipping the coffee from those glasses, while Vikram is served coffee in his special brought-from-home mug.
Amisha Patel floats on to the sets in a white embroidered salwar-kameez looking tres cool and petite. Introductions are made. She complains to Vikram about the unclean toilet; he offers to clean it himself!
Amisha makes herself comfortable with a television journalist and a girl who looks like she has stepped out of kindergarten.
"Can I steal Vikram away for two minutes?" Amisha wants to know how much money the girl can make as a dubbing artiste. Being an an expert on the matter (most artistes' voices in his films --- from Rani Mukherji in Ghulam and Aftab and Lisa Ray in Kasoor to Bipasha and Dino in Raaz --- are dubbed), Vikram volunteers a sum.
Amisha asks for some water, and turns around to say, "There’s nothing more satisfying than a nice cool swig of water when you are thirsty." I'm still mulling over the profundity of that observation when the Star Of The Show finally makes an appearance.
Dressed in blue jeans and a black-blue vest, Hrithik Roshan has blood running down his forehead and the back of his neck. It is time for some serious dhishum-dhishum with the film's villain, Mukesh Tiwari, who is dressed in a silver suit.
Mukesh has a long wait ahead, as Hrithik studies the shot in its minutest detail. He makes suggestions, asks questions and looks unconvinced even after a long discussion with the director and action director.
Amisha knows it will be a long afternoon. She makes herself comfortable in a corner while Hrithik practises being perfect. The members of the crew make a brave attempt to hide their impatience. I look at Hrithik Roshan studiously analysing the ifs and buts of the scene, and I am reminded of Aamir Khan. The same concentration, sincerity and effort.
As his father Rakesh Roshan tells me the next day, "Hrithik's way of working is the only way to make sure the industry moves ahead. He is fiercely focused and forces others around him to be the same."
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