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Writer Neeraj divulges into <i>Phir Hera Pheri</i>

Courtesy: IndiaFM

Monday, May 22, 2006

The man who has made you fall off your chair with laughter, in most of Priyadarshan's Hindi movies is back! It was Neeraj Vora's writing which contributed immensely to most of Priyadarshan's rib tickling comedies! This time he has written as well as directed Feroz Nadiadwala's Phir Hera Pheri, which is a sequel to Priyadarshan's Hera Pheri.

While the prequel gradually became somewhat of a cult comedy classic, the sequel too promises laughs galore! Presenting a one on one with Neeraj Vora, on Phir Hera Pheri and more...

Firstly, whose idea was it to create a sequel to the cult comedy Hera Pheri? First of all, let me clarify that the prequel to Hera Pheri was not original. It was inspired by a Malayalam film. The Malayalam film also had a sequel. Phir Hera Pheri, the sequel to Hera Pheri, is not a remake of the sequel to the Malayalam film. This film has nothing to do with that.

The basic reason for creating a sequel was that the three main characters played by Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Suneil Shetty i.e. Baburao, Shyam and Raju had become such characters that you can make as many stories with them as you want. They were such lovable, accepted heroes. I call all three of them heroes. Since 2-3 years I used to get jokes on SMS saying how Baburao would react to a certain situation. Hera Pheri was popular though it did not get a good opening. It became big because of word of mouth publicity. No matter how bad your day has been, if you come back and switch on the movie on DVD, you will feel that it was a good day.

The idea of the sequel was always in my mind, as well as in the minds of the artists. It was just a question of putting everything together. We wanted to make something that would retain the characteristics of these characters. Satish Kaushik was supposed to direct Phir Hera Pheri. However, just as I had completed the script I found out that there were some date problems. So I decided to step in as the director. We figured that since the prequel was loved so much, we could carry it off.

Since this is a sequel to Hera Pheri, will it continue from where Hera Pheri stopped?
Yes it is a continuation. It is about three characters who are desperately looking for money. They want to break even in life. That's what lands them in a criminal plot. They are sort of innocent criminals. They had thought that once they get the money, they will be happy. But does money make you happy?

This is one of the first sequels in Bollywood. It was only after Phir Hera Pheri was announced that other sequels were planned. Was there a lot of pressure on you as a writer to meet the expectations of the audience?
I think the audience always has expectations. More than the audience, I hope I enjoy the sequel, as much as I enjoyed the first part. Just like a spectator, I too have laughed and enjoyed. The entire team was wondering how they would pull it off. I never had any role model in front of me. I had the clarity that the characters in the sequel should be loved as well.

Tell us something about the story. 

In the prequel, they got the money. In the sequel, they think they will be happy since they have got the money. But with money comes the greed of wanting more money. As a result of this greed, they lose all the money. They are on the roads again. This movie is about their struggle this time.

What is similar and different in this movie from Hera Pheri?
The similarity is basically the traits of the characters. They react in the same manner, to situations. The same fun will be there. Except that the situations and plot of this film are totally different. This has a faster pace. In the first part, there was a lot of establishment of the characters. In this case, the characters have already been established.

You had directed with Akshay Kumar in your debut film Khiladi 420. How was it, teaming up with him again?
It was really nice. We have not only worked as actor and director. I had written Hera Pheri. So I had worked on his character, a lot. I had even written his other films like Awara Paagal Deewana, Ajnabee and Deewane Huye Pagal. I have seen him grow as an actor. He is an actor of a very high caliber. He is my super star. I always thought he was very good looking and fit the bill of a typical hero. With time, he has understood the nuances of performing. Apart from understanding, he has mastered the tricks.

Whenever Paresh Rawal gets an award, he always mentions your name in the thanksgiving speech.
I have been working with him since our days in Gujarati theatre. I have been seeing his work throughout my career. As a director-writer, I have learnt so much from him. He is so versatile and yet his talents have been unused. I think only 10 per cent of his capacity as an actor is being used. His range as an actor is phenomenal. Whenever he says that my dialogues have made him, I say it's never so. I think he is so great as an actor that I don't even need to come prepared with the dialogues. With him, you can improvise on the set and create the best dialogues. We vibe well. His contribution to his work is tremendous.

Prior to Hera Pheri, Suneil Shetty was known only as an action hero. After that the audience began accepting him in comic roles. How much do you think your work has contributed in this change of perception?
I think Priyadarshan was responsible for changing Suneil Shetty's image. The fact that he was cast in Hera Pheri was a shock to everyone. He always had the image of an action hero. But he had the capacity to mould himself to suit any role. He is non-egoistic and a complete director's actor. Even if he doesn't agree with something, he will argue but finally accept it. He understands that films are a director's medium. I was shocked when I saw him in Main Hoon Na, after so many comedies. He made such a great villain. He can adapt himself so easily, to different kinds of roles

Bipasha and Rimmi are new additions to this film. What would you like to say about them?
To start with, they are both extremely professional, which is an essential requirement in today's times. They are punctual, involved with the film and have no tantrums. It was only at the edit level that I realized that both of them have grown as actresses. They pleasantly surprised me with their performances.

How much action will we get to see in this film?
In Phir Hera Pheri, action is almost not there. I was sure that my three characters are not James Bond, or typical heroes. You will see funny kind of action sequences.

Also Feroz Nadiadwala's films are known for their item numbers. Will we see any in this film?
No there are no item songs. Bipasha's character is such that you may think she is an item! But there is nothing out of the plot or for the convenience of a certain distributor.

Tell us about Feroz's style of working.
Everyone knows how intensely involved he gets with his films. But he let me make this film my way. For instance, I was not forced into including an item song. This will be a trademark Neeraj Vohra film. I had complete freedom.

Hera Pheri had music by Anu Malik. The sequel has music by Himesh Reshammiya. How did he suit the requirements of your film?
Very few composers get involved in the entire film. I think he is a very intense person which is going to pay. The kind of hard work that he has done for Phir Hera Pheri is remarkable. And I'm not just saying that because we are both Gujaratis. He would go all out to give anything for the film.

People have diverse opinions about Himesh Reshammiya. Some people just love his voice whereas some think that it is too nasal. What is your opinion?
I think he sings very well. He does not sing nasal at all. It's just his type of voice. It's his pitch. People would even accuse Mukeshji of being nasal. Finally, it's the appeal that matters. I think he sings very well, especially the title song of Phir Hera Pheri. I love his singing.

Tell us something about the promotional video in this film.
Yes. It is being choreographed by Ahmed Khan. That song too, which is by Himesh is just brilliant. He made such a song, that we were forced to shoot it as a promotional video. The entire cast will be seen in the song.

What are your other projects as a director?
I am planning three movies. There is a romantic comedy, a saga kind of film and also an adult comedy. I will also be producing them. Negotiations are on. I am in the process of finalizing the scripts.

What are your future projects as a writer?
One is Bhagam Bhag with Priyadarshan.Chup Chup Ke will release along with Phir Hera Pheri. Then I am also writing a film for Abbas-Mustan. There is also Rohit Shetty's Golmaal.

Since you have already composed music before, do you plan to attempt it again anytime in future?
Whenever, I make my own film, my brother will be the composer. So I guess it will be in-house music. 

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