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April 23, 2002
'Give me permission to fail!'
Sukanya Verma, Priyanka Bhattacharya
Four hits. Four flops. The law of averages seems to be catching up with director Vikram Bhatt.
His innings as a filmmaker began poorly --- his first four attempts at filmmaking, Jaanam (Pooja Bhatt, Rahul Roy), Madhosh (Faisal Khan, Anjali), Gunehgar (Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri) and Bambai Ka Babu (Saif Ali Khan, Kajol) bombed at the BO.
Just when he had been written off, he resurfaced with the sleek adaptation of the Kurt Russell-Madeleine Stowe starrer Unlawful Entry --- Fareb. The film was a surprise success.
Bhatt's lucky run continued with a spate of hits: Ghulam, Kasoor and the recent Raaz.
So it was but natural that his next Aap Mujhe Lagne Lage would be the cynosure of all eyes. The film's USPs were the coming together of the Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai pair Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel.
Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage, released April 19, was panned unanimously by critics and rejected outright at the BO. About the absymal performance of AMALL, Vikram calmly reiterates, "The critics have battered all my films. To date, I haven't got a good review. It really doesn't matter to me what the press says."
A filmmaker who goes by his instincts, Bhatt agreed to do the film, "because I thought it was commercially right. People told me that such films become superhits."
Continuing in the vein he adds, "Today the audience's choice is undergoing a change. Films like Raaz and 16 December are doing well. Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage suffers from the hangover of family films that did well a few years ago. It was a wrong script for the present time."
Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage was signed by Hrithik and Amisha prior to the release of KNPH and took two years to make before it finally hit the marquee. "A lot of things went wrong. The timing was bad. The film was delayed by over a year because Hrithik got busy with Subhash Ghai's Yaadein and Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage took a back seat. The publicity was terrible. Most people weren't even aware of the film. The producer (Mohan Kumar) is to be blamed for hardly promoting the film," says an irked Bhatt.
Did they reshoot any portions of AMALL? "We were fortunate to have the shootings in the first place", quips Bhatt.
Though the Hrithik-Amisha pairing was considered the hottest aspect of Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage, Bhatt begs to differ. "The chemistry between Hrithik and Amisha is a thing of the past. We should have released the movie around Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai."
Another factor of the film was the over-the-top performances of the film's leading actors-Hrithik and Amisha. "From my point of view, they enacted the scenes perfectly. It seemed right to me. As simple as that", he defends, nonchalantly.
Currently busy shooting for Aitbaar, starring Amitabh Bachchan, John Abraham and his favourite Bipasha Basu, Vikram Bhatt admits, "I take the complete responsibility for choosing the script. I should be given the permission to fail. Everyone makes mistakes. Ironically, I started making Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage much before I started Raaz. The audience is paramount. If they didn't like the film, something is definitely wrong with the film."
On that note, Bhatt darts a parting shot, "Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage was a film on borrowed conviction. Good or bad, work on your own conviction."
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