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The Rediff Interview
'Kareena is the female Raj Kapoor'
February 06, 2003
Despite being cooped up in an air-conditioned room for hours, director S J Suryah is sweating profusely.
He sighs, "At the risk of sounding haughty, I want to tell you I have been as busy as a bee."
In conversation with Vickey Lalwani, he talks about Khushi starring Fardeen Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
At the risk of sounding boastful, I want to tell you Khushi will break the jinx plaguing Bollywood. It is a sure shot hit.
This is not the first time a South Indian movie has been made in Hindi. This recipe works. In addition, I directed the Tamil (1999) and Telugu versions (2001) of this movie. Both proved money-spinners at the box-office.
Tell us about Khushi.
The punchline of Khushi is 'Every human being has an ego.' In a nutshell, Khushi is a love story of a boy and a girl who keep each other at bay because of their egos.
Khushi is the story of Khushi (Kareena), a girl born and brought up in a hamlet named Charnoli in Uttaranchal. She comes from a conservative family but unlike the elders in her family, she is averse to the idea of getting married. She wants to pursue higher studies. She gets admission at Mumbai University where she bumps into this arrogant Kolkata guy called Karan (Fardeen).
Their very first encounter results in a fight and that sows the seeds of rivalry between them. Further, they continue to fight with each other. There seems to be no end to that until one day they suddenly realise they love each other. Don't ask me any further.
I did not do the casting. [Producer] Boney [Kapoor] approached me, wanting to remake Khushi in Hindi. He had already decided on the lead pair. I was game. Boney Kapoor is known for allowing his directors to make movies as per their wish without bothering about money.
Also, I was asked to direct Kareena Kapoor who has been my favourite since her debut in Refugee.
She is unarguably the best actress of this generation. There is nobody around in her bracket who is more spontaneous than her. She is a bundle of talent. A lot of her talent has still not been tapped.
She is going to rule Bollywood for years to come. She reminds me of her grandfather Raj Kapoor. She is the female Raj Kapoor.
We didn't go through the entire script. Actually, she had seen the Tamil version. She told me she had gone crazy after seeing it.
Did Fardeen and Kareena fit into your vision?
I needed a fresh pair. Lately, several pairs which have clicked in the past have fallen flat at the box-office. Besides, Fardeen and Kareena both gelled well from day one. Often, there is no bonding between the hero and heroine and the film suffers in the end. It is starkly visible on screen that the pair does not share chemistry.
No. Tell me one Bollywood star who is happening today. If a film does well everybody involved comes into the limelight. Today, even the hero with the biggest initial cannot help a film run. The audience is smart.
I shot Khushi in Hyderabad and Mumbai over a period of 100 days.
The scene just before the interval. Both Fardeen and Kareena are about to tell each other 'I love you,' but a minor quarrel converts into a major quarrel thanks to their inflated egos. And they go different ways.
Tell us about your other projects.
Another film with Boney Kapoor, probably starring both Kareena and Fardeen.
*Laughs* We haven't decided.