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|February 27, 2001||
Paresh Rawal was on a mission.
He was determined to woo Mahima Chaudhry.
Armed with red rose in hand and song on his lips, he was ready.
And so it went. You would think it was that simple, a song sequence.
It takes a trip to Hotel Royal Palms, Goregaon, Bombay, on the sets of Priyadarshan's Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar to realise otherwise.
Actually, the majestic, plush hotel can take your breath away. It stands regally, flanked by a seemingly limitless golf course. And if you want privacy, it is just the place.
Now that could be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Its seclusion. Because if you don't own a car, venture not here. Unless you're on a drastic weight loss programme.
Rickshaws balk at heading towards the hotel. Since the hotel is situated on a hill, it makes for strenuous ascent. Walking? From the entrance of Aarey Milk Colony, the hotel is a minimum of six kilometres, two of which make for a very steep climb.
Hotel Royal Palms, though, is a big hit with the film industry.
Back to the shooting. Change of scene. The second shot, a continuation of the song sequence, required Paresh Rawal to resume singing to Mahima, while she giggled and acted coy.
Only, the two are now being followed by Sunil Shetty, hiding his face behind a newspaper and following the duo.
"Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar deals with the Rent Act problem in Bombay," says Sunil Shetty. It's about a simpleton called Dayashankar Manorilal Pandey, who falls into a lot of debts in the village because of his sister's wedding.
"To save his property and self-respect in the village, he decides to sell the house his father had rented out 20 years ago, in which Mahima stays now. The film is about how he tries to get her out of the house. In the process of which he falls in love with her.
"It has a beautifully-written script. It's hilarious, yet it's very touching. Many people will identify with it, because those problems are common. Ninety per cent of the problems that people face revolve around home and rent."
He adds, "I call this film a comedy with a big heart and soul -- it is so touching."
"Besides, I do my job well. I chose a role with three things in mind -- the role, the director and the money," he states.
"I enjoy working with Sunil Shetty because he is a very disciplined actor. He doesn't interfere with anyone else. We share a good working relationship.
"I like working on any type of role -- villain or comedian -- as long as it is well written. Because if it is not written well, I find it very difficult to enact that role. Some films have me saying and doing stupid things. That's because the role is not written well.
"But I'm not very comfortable with dancing. I'm not that great at it, but nikal jaata hai kaam.
When asked about the recent Best Comedian Award he won for Hera Pheri, he said, "I felt very happy to receive the award. But I would be lying if I said I didn't expect it. In fact, in the very first schedule, all of us knew that this character would click."
A pretty Mahima in a maroon sari and her hair in a plait, says, "When I worked with Sunil (Shetty) in Dhadkan, I didn't really know him that well -- we shot together for just a week. But now, that has changed."
Sunil, for his part, says, "If you see Mahima in this film, she's very different from her others. All of us are, including Paresh. The credit goes to the director, Priyan. He has executed things so beautifully that we've ended up looking like good actors, which is a compliment for the director.
"This is my third film with Priyan. We've done Hera Pheri and are now working together in Kashmakash, which is still under production.
"He leaves you feeling that you don't want him to work with anyone else. I feel very jealous when he does a film with someone else. Of course, I wish the best for him -- he is a very close friend of mine. But I want to be in every film of his, because every one of them is so meaningful, different and time-bound. Also, his films have a lot of visual beauty."
Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar is due for release on May 31.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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