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March 27, 2002
Devastating hope: winning the Oscar!
A Monday afternoon, stage 2 of R K Studios, Chembur, Mumbai.
It is the last day of the shooting schedule for actor-director Dev Anand's Love At Times Square. All that is left to do in the film are a few song picturisations.
In a full sleeved, checked white shirt, rust corduroy trousers, dark blue sweater swung around his neck and his trademark black cap, Dev Anand is sitting on a chair marked Director at the back.
The set shows a double bed bedecked with marigold garlands strung around it like a curtain. "Aur ladiyan lagao [Add more garlands]. Fill the space with flowers. And call Chaitanya only when we are ready to shoot," says Dev Anand. Chaitanya, an ex-model, is Devsaab's new hero.
"We are shooting a dream sequence," Devsaab explains. More garlands are strung around the bed. Unit boys spray water on the flowers too keep them fresh. A few more baskets of flowers arrive on the sets.
Meanwhile, the hero arrives. He respectfully touches Dev Anand and choreographer Kamal Nath's feet. Chaitanya is wearing off-white khadi silk kurta-pyjama and golden mojris, with a red tilak on his forehead.
In the film, the hero lies unconscious in a hospital. In that twilight zone, he dreams about his wedding night.
Chaitanya sits on the bed. "Cover your face --- hold as many garlands close to it as possible and when the song goes, Hey, hey, start looking around for her [the heroine]. Hold that look when you look into the camera lens," Dev Anand instructs and sits back on his chair. "I want the fan, I want good breeze when Chaitanya is looking for her," he instructs.
Chaitanya looks a bit self-conscious. After a couple of takes, Dev Anand okays the shot. "Good, now you have got it," he says.
The next shot is readied. Chaitanya says, "Since Devsaab is also an actor, it is easier to relate to him. He teaches only when we get stuck. He generally lets us do our own thing."
Does he think this was the right break particularly since Dev Anand has not given a single hit after Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Des Pardes? "It is a big break for me. Whatever people might say about Dev Anand's banner, he has done a brilliant job in this movie. He has put in a lot of effort and money to get the best out of us. Every filmmaker goes through a bad patch. Maybe his films were ahead of their times," says Chaitanya.
Back to Dev Anand: "My film is an Indian love story set in America. I have always made thematic pictures. This is my first love story. I'm sure people will lap it up. Censor was for the intellectuals and the elite, but love is a universal sentiment which everyone will appreciate because people are either in love or want to be loved.
"There are eight songs and four music directors --- Lucky Ali has composed three songs, two sung by him. Adnan Sami has composed the theme song -- Times Square. Rajesh Roshan has composed the climax song and there is Aadesh Shrivastava, too. The high point of the film is Times Square, in New York City."
The next line of the song goes, Bune hai sargam se nagme tere. Holding the pillow close to his chest, he rolls on the bed. The choreographer throws a marigold which Chaitanya catches.
As the shot starts, Dev Anand walks along with the trolley around the bed, slightly bent, with hands clasped behind his back, watching the hero intently. "Don't close your eyes. Even if you do, see to it that the camera doesn't capture it. You are good," he tells Chaitanya reminding him to look at the lens. "When you throw the flower at him, it should fall close to his face," he tells the choreographer.
"See to it that the pole doesn't cover Chaitanya's face. He shouldn't stay there too long," Dev Anand warns his production unit, pats the hero's back and goes back to his chair. The shot is canned.
Heena Kaushik the heroine arrives. She has to move on the trolley in a circle, while petals are thrown on her. Unit members shower petals from two huge baskets full of them. Says Heena, an Army Officer's daughter from Pune, who played the lead in Dev Anand's Censor. "Apart from learning how to act, I have learnt how to conduct myself in the industry. Nobody has the time to teach you, but he [Dev Anand] is a living institution.
"After Zeenat Aman, I'm the only actress he says he's repeated in his next film,"says Heena.
As the shoot draws to a close, Dev Anand grins, "One day I will win the Oscar for our country."
India News Feature Service
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