Housefull will be the first real biggie that would arrive after 3 Idiots. There was My Name Is Khan and Veer which were solo starrers but this one is a quintessential masala multistarrer. You must be aware about huge expectations that people would have from the film. Doesn't it become scary as well? After all eyes would be on the film to succeed.
Quite honestly, I would be disappointed if Housefull does not do record breaking business. Heyy Babyy released in 2007 and Housefull is arriving in 2010. In 3 years, business has grown tremendously. I am extremely confident about the film because I know that the biggest hero I have here is the screenplay. This is a kind of movie that people would enjoy watching 2-3 times. For any blockbuster, it is a bare minimum requirement to have repeat value. This is what I kept in mind when I wrote Housefull with three other writers. 3 Idiots wouldn't have been such a huge blockbuster if people wouldn't have seen it 2-3 times.
Talking about 3 Idiots, there would be obvious comparisons with the film, mainly from box office standpoint, when Housefull opens this Friday. 3 Idiots had broken all records and enjoyed an astonishing journey. Do you think that in 2010, whether Housefull or any other film for that matter would be able to break the record created by 3 Idiots?
Let me tell you something. I have a lot of friends from the film industry and we indulge into a lot of bets around the box office prospects of a film. Of course these are token bets as we exchange, Blue Ray discs etc. But then, it's fun. Sajid (Nadiadwala), Riteish and I are trade pundits and when it came to 3 Idiots, we all knew that it would be huge. However, none of us could have ever fathomed that it would be this huge. I guess somewhere even the makers didn't expect such outcome. When a film connects at such a level, even you get surprised.
So you were really surprised with the way 3 Idiots performed?
Pleasantly surprised actually and it's a good thing that this happened because it has shown people the way. I am sure 99% people were very happy with it because once money starts coming into films, the rolling begins. It gives a breathing space to other big films in line. It tells people that this kind of business is possible. Ok, so my film is not 3 Idiots but then it has lots of comedy, has its heart at the right place, is seeing a correct release and boasts of tremendous publicity. I am sure the film will see a great box office response. After all records are meant to be broken. Aamir set the record with 3 Idiots and someone has to break it. So why shouldn't I aim high?
Well, you have actually aimed quite high in case of Housefull. Your film after all boasts of a stunning presence of hot bods like Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta and Jiah Khan. Still Sajid, one wonders if it became a little too much to handle for you as well.
I believe in laying down cards at the very beginning itself. I tell my actors that you either take it or leave it. I don't play favourites with anybody. If I do so, I will end up cheating myself and the film. In case of Housefull, everybody's role has been cleverly balanced. Also, I believe in joint narration. So we had Akshay, Ritiesh, Arjun, Deepika, Lara, Jiah, Boman, Randhir, Lilette and Chunky - everyone sitting together and doing a joint reading.
You actually had a dozen odd actors coming together for a narration?
(Smiles) Even Sajid (Nadiadwala) had a similar expression on his face when I shared this idea of mine. He couldn't believe it actually when I pulled it off. Something like this can perhaps happen for a small budget film but when it comes to big budget commercial films, this doesn't quite happen. However, we had a professional setup where we rehearsed for hours in my room. Also, I insist that to get things right onscreen, there should be cordial relationship off screen as well. This is why no one sat in the van by themselves. We used to sit and eat food together. There was a lot of masti, mazaa, film quizzes, gossips etc. that we indulged in.
So in Housefull, are we seeing a gift from Sajid to Akshay? After all he acted in your Heyy Babyy which was your first film as a director. On the other hand Housefull comes at a time when Akshay is looking forward to a huge blockbuster to his name.
I am sure that there is no gifting business happening in case of Housefull. I have a very strong intuition that this would be Akshay's biggest hit till date. Perhaps then I would state that this was Akshay's gift to me.
You seem to be putting on a diplomatic stance...
Really, neither am I am being diplomatic nor am I trying to sound overtly modest. In fact as you can see in the promos of Housefull, the film's tagline reads Heyy Babyy team reloads'. It doesn't read like '....from the director of Heyy Babyy'. Also, one thing that I am sure is that you would never see my film's title followed by 'A Sajid Khan film'. It would always be plain and simple 'Directed by Sajid Khan'. See, I don't live in an illusionary world. At the end of the day, no actor or a director is above a film. They all work hard to make a film. I am just a medium. After that, a film breaths its own life.
By now, the famed confidence of Sajid Khan is known across the industry. In fact as the release date of Housefull comes closer; there is an increased sense of confidence in his tone. No nervous pangs here, no butterflies in the stomach, no 'oh I am so excited that I haven't slept for 4 days' quotes are coming from him. Instead, he is breathing and eating Housefull even as expectations have soared by many multitudes. As the film is close to 100 hours away from its release, Sajid Khan converses with correspondent on record breaking business that Housefull is expected to create, the coming together of a huge cast and his lack of fear when comes to critics amongst other topics.