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'Remakes are reassuring'

February 05, 2003 15:29 IST

Surinder Kapoor and his son Boney Kapoor produced 21 films, of which some were blockbusters (Mr India, Judaai) and others disasters (Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja, Raat). Boney Kapoor

Boney's younger brother actor Anil Kapoor also started his own production company with partner director Satish Kaushik. Unfortunately, their debut film, Badhaai Ho Badhaai, failed despite aggressive marketing.

Boney's last film, Shakti, featuring Karisma Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor and Nana Patekar was touted to be one of Karisma's best films after Fiza and Zubeidaa. It sank.

Undeterred, Boney is back with another film, this time touted as Kareena Kapoor's path-breaking movie, he tells Subhash K Jha:

Give me a reason why we should see Khushi.

I have a lot of confidence in this film. Unlike other love stories, in Khushi, the couple does not fight extraneous forces. That's the sweetest and cutest part of the film. Everyone who has been in love will identify with this film. I am told Khushi looks too urban. But love is an emotion that can never lose its currency in any part of the world.

Is Khushi your most expensive film?

No. Pukar, Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Prem were expensive. As a producer, I always try to do my best for my products. For this, I am often labelled lavish. I need to curb this tendency.

I remember when I was going through a successful spell, I was supposed to be at war with the biggest and the best of them all -- be it Amitabh Bachchan or Subhash Ghai. Today, I am supposed to be neck deep in debt. Both are highly exaggerated versions of the truth.

I admit I am going through a low. But so many filmmakers have hit a rough patch. Since I have so many films on the floor, my liabilities are higher than others. But they are nothing I cannot control.

Three successive films of mine haven't done well. Because of the receding market, I had to sell them at impractical prices. But one hit and I will be back on my feet. Pukar may have been a flop but I am proud of it. The film and my brother Anil won National Awards.

What went wrong with Pukar?

The rise of Hrithik Roshan at the same time as the release of Pukar and the attention Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai got because Rakesh Roshan was shot at. The youth ignored Pukar and watched Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai.

Pukar was a different love story. The distributors made money on it for sure. Fortunately, the film got tax exemption in six or seven states.

Was Company a loser?

You will be shocked to know though it was a winner in Mumbai, we lost a lot of money. But I am proud of Company. Ram Gopal Varma is in a different league.

If he would only learn to be patient with his films, he would realise his potential. I wish he would do one film at a time. But then, different strokes for different folks.

Mohanlal accused you of not paying him his dues in Company.

Our third partner Ashwin Dutt had promised Rs 5 million. Company released in a receding market. T-Series did not pay us the Rs 10 million they owed us for the music. The losses were shared between Ram Gopal Varma and me. I had to borrow money from the market to cover my losses.

Even Shah Rukh Khan could not save Shakti.Sanjay, Karisma in Shakti

Shah Rukh thought I was over-using his face in the publicity of Shakti. These things are designed by the publicists. If I had my way, I would have had my brother Sanjay Kapoor's face prominently on the posters. There are many compulsions in the process of filmmaking. One such compulsion made me sign Shah Rukh.

Yes, Shakti went wrong. Except for choosing the subject, I was not involved in the making of the film, which I normally do. But I must place my faith in the director. I have collaborated with the best of them, including Rajkumar Santoshi and Shekhar Kapur.

During Koi Mere Dil Se Pooche, I had asked my director Vinay Shukla to scrap some reels. I ended up re-shooting 60 per cent of the film.

But I left Shakti entirely to my director Krishna Vamsi. I saw the film with my wife Sridevi only after it was completed. We were deeply disappointed. The Hindi version was nowhere near the Telugu one. That is when we brought in the Shah Rukh-Aishwarya song Ishq kamina. Vamsi did not want the song.

But I felt we needed relief at that point of storytelling. The film was too long and when Vamsi refused to shorten it, I did it.

I thought Shakti would be stark like Satya. But I was wrong. I lost heavily on Shakti. The fabulous opening lasted for 24 hours only.

Why do you get South Indian directors to remake their original films in Hindi?

It's never a total remake. There were changes in Beta and Judaai. Even in Khushi, a lot of things have been changed. Besides, Pukar and Company weren't remakes. My next production Run, is a Tamil remake, but my forthcoming films Bewafaa and Kyun Ho Gaya Na? are not remakes.

I would love to work with directors like Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sooraj Barjatya. But they make films for their own companies. I work in projects in which I have total control from the first to the last frame.

Remakes are reassuring because I know what is in store. It is like going to a restaurant where you know the menu. Other producers in the past like B Nagi Reddy, D Rama Naidu, L V Prasad and N C Sippy kept doing remakes.

Some of them were even awarded Dadasaheb Phalke Awards. My father was comfortable with his remake Shahzada with Rajesh Khanna and Raakhee. In fact, I started my career with two remakes, Hum Paanch and Woh Saat Din.

But South remakes haven't worked recently.

Khushi will change that. Remakes don't work when changes are made without logic. In Koi Mere Dil Se Pooche, changes were made because Hindi makers looked down on the original. In Khushi, we have not made alterations. We have updated it.

Khushi is not a story-oriented film. It's a treatment film. Director Suryah has already made blockbusters of it in Tamil and Telugu.

Kareena keeps raving about Jyothika in the Tamil version.

That is because she hasn't seen Bhumika in the Telugu version. Kareena is very spontaneous. That helped her play Khushi; she is very close to this character. Khushi isn't Poo. It has elements of Kareena's Nazneen in Refugee.

Kareena expresses a whole spectrum of emotions. It is very rare for a heroine to get such a role. Her scenes with her screen father Amrish Puri will bring tears to the audiences' eyes.

Kareena is also the spine of my forthcoming film Bewafaa.

As for Fardeen Khan, so far the industry believed Kajol to be the fourth ruling Khan of the industry. After Khushi, Fardeen will be the fourth Khan superstar.

Bewafaa sounds like B R Chopra's Gumrah.

It is inspired by Gumrah. Yes, Bewafaa is a big-budget film but I am not scared of expenses. When I started Koi Mere Dil Se Pooche and Shakti, the industry was booming. Today, we are at rock bottom. Who knows, maybe when Bewafaa releases, it will be boom time again.

I am very optimistic.Fardeen, Kareena in Khushi With so many multiplexes coming up, we need clean, sensible films.

Multiplexes are the safest propositions for distributors and exhibitors. While regular theatres are rented, multiplexes are generally run on percentage basis. Besides, a multiplex comes with so many other money-making sources like shopping malls and eateries. Next year, we will have at least 100 more multiplexes all over the country.

How do you think the present crisis will affect Khushi?

We are definitely releasing the film with a handicap. No one has money.

Last year, only Raaz made money. When Sanjay Leela Bhansali talks of Devdas making Rs 200 crore, I wonder what he means. Even Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! did not collect that kind of money.

Sanjay Bhansali has been wrongly informed about his cinema's potential. Besides, even in the midst of crisis, Saathiya has done well in a couple of places. Sensible films will always have a market.

Future projects?

Kareena and Fardeen will star in another film, directed by Suryah by June-July. I have five projects lined up -- Dharmesh Darshan's Bewafaa, Samir Karnik's Kyun Ho Gaya Na?, Jeeva's Run and N Chandra's Team.

Team is a topical film in which Anil Kapoor plays a college principal. It will be as hard-hitting as N Chandra's Pratighaat. I am also doing a remake of a Tamil film Charlie Chaplain. Three of these films will be released this year.

Right now, I am banking on Khushi. I remember after seeing Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja, I had thought of scrapping it. But people convinced me that it was a Hollywood-level film. Now I know it is better to scrap the crap. Ploughing on with a bad film makes a producer desperate. He puts in money just to hold up a crumbling production.

When are you making a film for Sridevi?

I was planning Shakti with her. But she opted out. I will make one as soon as I get a proper script.

Meanwhile, she is doing a television serial Hamari Bahu Malini Iyer. Most serials show the woman as the homebreaker.

Malini Iyer is a homemaker. I'm producing it for Sahara Television. We have just canned the first episode.