By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Legendary Kamaal Amrohi's Grandson Mashhoor Films His Debut Venture In This Beautiful Country!
Five decades ago, the legendary Kamaal Amrohi changed tracks. After writing the script of several successful films then, he decided to direct a film. His first film, Mahal, starring Ashok Kumar and Madhubala, was a money-spinner. The songs continue to play on radio stations even today. Some people, some films are immortal...
Circa 2006. Kamaal Amrohi's grandson Mashhoor has decided to follow his grandpa's footsteps. Only thing, 24-year-old Mashhoor is wearing three caps in his debut film. Besides writing the script and directing Hum Laakh Chhupayen Pyaar... Magar, he is also essaying the main lead in the film.
A major shooting schedule of the film is being held in Singapore and the writers were invited by Tajdar Amrohi [son of Kamaal Amrohi and father of Mashhoor] to cover the shoot at this foreign destination. The best thing about Singapore is that you can never get tired of it, even if you've been there for Vaada or I.I.F.A. or several times before. There's so much to explore in this beautiful country.
For those who're unaware, Hum Laakh Chhupayen Pyaar... Magar was supposed to be shot in London, but the Amrohis decided to film the portions in Singapore after the British High Commission refused visa to the crew of the film. "Singapore has an incredible skyline, so I am not missing London one bit. It hasn't made an iota of difference to my story," Mashhoor smiles. Incidentally, the Amrohis were planning to shoot the portion in Dusseldorf [Germany] earlier, "but it seemed difficult and unviable," Tajdar adds.
The youngster is filming a song outside the sprawling Takashimaya Mall at the Orchard Road and by the looks of it, he seems like a complete pro at the job. "I think David Dhawan was the best teacher," Mashhoor [he assisted DD in Mujhse Shaadi Karogi] reveals, "He's the bravest director I know. He tells the audience to leave their brains at home while coming to watch his film and they've been following his advice since the past twenty years."
DD may be Mashhoor's guru, but the Amrohi lad is inspired by Manoj Night Shyamalan's style of narrating stories. "I was fascinated by his work in The Sixth Sense, Signs and The Village. That's precisely what I am trying in Hum Laakh Chhupayen Pyaar... Magar. It's not one of those routine love stories with light moments aplenty. There's an element of suspense, besides romance," Mashhoor adds.
Handling multiple departments in his debut film [writing, directing and acting] can prove to be one big gamble. "Aren't there many instances of banners failing when they launch careers? Haven't people messed up in the past? And what's the guarantee that an A-list director would make a success? Can any producer, director or actor guarantee a hit? Pakeezah was a gamble and so was Titanic. I would like to be responsible for my actions, hence I decided to direct the film myself," pat comes the reply.
Wasn't Tajdar apprehensive? "I was, initially. Mashhoor used to wake up pretty late and that got me worried. Why does he wake up at noon, I asked Neelu [Nilofer Amrohi, Tajdar's graceful and elegant wife]. But I realized that he had been working in nights, writing the script of his film. This may come as a surprise, but Mashhoor has readied thirty scripts so far," the doting father reveals.
So how did the project take shape? "Mashhoor was firm, he didn't want to entrust the script to any director. He wanted to direct it himself. He asked me if I'd fund the project. I agreed, but I wanted to hear the script. Mashhoor didn't buy time, he started with the opening sequence and that blew my mind. I didn't want to listen further. The project is on, I told him," Tajdar reminisces.
Tajdar gets emotional at this point. "Every father wants the best for his kids. I am no exception. For me, my two sons [Mashhoor and Bilal] mean the world to me. In their happiness lies my happiness. And I realized that I had entrusted my faith in the right person. I was nervous on the first-day shoot. My son was taking his first step in life. But when I saw the high level of confidence, I realized that my son could walk well," you could feel the glow when Tajdar says this.
Mashhoor has assembled an all-new crew for his debut film. "Newcomers are brimming with ideas. They bring in a lot of confidence when they walk into a set," Mashhoor states. The youngster has an able team of assistants to help put the film together. Bilal, Mashhoor's younger brother, steps into his brother's shoes the moment Mashhoor faces the camera. Bilal is not a novice; he had assisted J.P. Dutta during L.O.C.
"I can't do without my brother Bilal. He's my strength, my support," Mashhoor says, adding in the same breath, "He has lived with my script. I bounce ideas to him all the while and his suggestions make sense." But does the David Dhawan school of film-making clash with that of J.P. Dutta? "Never, because we aren't making a DD or JP film. Hum Laakh Chhupayen Pyaar... Magar is a film of today. Comparisons or clashes would be inevitable if we were making a laughathon or a war film," Mashhoor and Bilal echo in unison.
What's great about the brothers and also the unit is that there is tremendous camaraderie and bonhomie on the sets. No one's out to prove the other a point or impress each other. In fact, the entire Amrohi family -- father Tajdar, mother Neelu and sons Mashhoor and Bilal -- are on their toes, ensuring that everything goes right. If Tajdar is looking after the nitty-gritties of production and the two sons are giving shape to their dreams, Neelu is lending a helping hand to the production staff, ensuring that every need is taken care of. Without doubt, hospitality comes naturally to this family.
Also participating in this schedule with Mashhoor are Vishakha Singh [the leading lady] and Suved Lohia [the hi-profile entrepreneur, who's a big name in the hospitality business. He enacts the role of Mashhoor's friend in the film]. Vishakha, the Delhi girl, was recommended to Amrohis by Yash Raj. In fact, the youngster says that she was being considered for Yash Raj's Neal N Nikki, "but I wasn't comfortable with the idea of smooching and exposing," she divulges.
How's her role in Hum Laakh Chhupayen Pyaar... Magar? "It's a hero-dominated industry, but I must add that Mashhoor isn't focusing on himself alone. He's not selfish at all. He makes sure that we compliment one another. He keeps guiding me all along," the pretty actress says.
Since Vishakha has just taken her first step, is she liking the experience? "I am a great student under a good teacher. I wouldn't like to tom-tom about myself, but I'd like to add that I am doing a decent job. Of course, there's always scope to improvise and one does so with the passage of time," she adds.
Suved too has just started out as an actor. His debut film is Aryan [he enacts the role of Sohail Khan's friend in the film], while Hum Laakh Chhupayen Pyaar... Magar will be his second release. Hailing from a business family, Suved has already made a name for himself by starting a couple of nightspots in Mumbai. "Acting is like a hobby for me and working with friends is an altogether different experience," Suved states.
Hum Laakh Chhupayen Pyaar... Magar will be 75% complete after this schedule. The Amrohis are planning to release the film on January 12, 2007. The film also stars Jackie Shroff, Govinda and a host of surprise stars...