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The Rediff Interview / Abbas Tyrewalla
The man behind Aamir's next film
June 19, 2006
After 2001's sensational Lagaan, Aamir Khan is all set to produce another movie, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na.
The movie will launch Imraan, Aamir's cousin Nuzhat's son. Mansoor Khan -- who directed Aamir in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak -- is Nuzhat's brother.
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na will mark the directorial debut of writer Abbas Tyrewala. The writer has had varied successes to his credit, including Munnabhai MBBS, Maqbool, and Main Hoon Na.
"(Film financier) Jhamu Sughand was supposed to produce the film," Tyrewala explains, "but the way things turned out, he developed cash flow problems. He was sweet enough to tell me that the film will be delayed. I asked him whether I can take it to somebody else and he gave me a go ahead. Aamir's nephew is in the film and when we had signed him he had told Aamir the story and asked him whether he should do the film, as he is his senior. Aamir had told him that it's a nice film and he should do it. And he also told him, 'if ever there is any problem, I am interested in the film. I would like to hear the script.'
"When this problem happened, Imraan told me Aamir wants to hear the narration. He (Aamir) liked it straight up and said that the script is exactly the way he wants it. I was a little nervous as I had heard that Aamir has lot of say in the script, especially if he completely disagrees. But here, he didn't have any disagreement. I didn't have to convince him at all. He was kind enough to give me one particular date for narration. He was there on time, heard the narration and two and half hours later he shook hands with me and said that we are making the film," Tyrewala adds.
What made him take to direction? "At the back of my mind, I knew that ultimately the natural culmination to the idea of storytelling is direction," says Tyrewala.
"It just so happened that after the triple success of Maqbool, Munnabhai, and Main Hoon Na, getting the combination -- the kind of people I wanted to work with, the kind of movie that I wanted to do, and the people who would pay me decently, that whole combination -- was becoming a bit rare."
Tyrewala has written the story, dialogues, screenplay and the lyrics of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, which is a romantic comedy about college-goers. Imraan plays the leading man, but his heroine hasn't yet been finalised. Tyrewalla wants a fresh, all-new cast for the movie, but says there will be cameos by Naseeruddin Shah and his wife Ratna Pathak Shah, Arshad Warsi and Arbaaz Khan. A R Rahman will compose the songs, and shooting commences in October, primarily in Mumbai.
"A lot of people think that we selected Imraan because he was Aamir's nephew. But the fact is that we had gone insane looking for someone who suited the role. Imraan was the only person who suited it perfectly. So even when everything else changed including a lot of the cast and the producer, Imraan stayed constant. This is all before we had the faintest idea that Aamir would produce the project," Tyrewala clarifies.
"Intially, when we were making the movie with Jhamu, the budget was close to Rs 6.5 crore. Aamir thinks it can be rationalised further and can be cut down a bit. I trust his production instinct," Tyrewala continues.
"Aamir has promised me that in terms of my requirements, nothing will suffer. I am happy to believe him. I am not very production savvy. I understand storytelling, I understand cinema but I don't understand money. I completely trust him on money."