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Sajid Khan spooked!

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    By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    When Sajid Khan directed one of the 15-minute episodes of Ramu's Darna Zaroori Hai (DZH) series, he never dreamt that he would be frightened out of his wits. Sajid narrates the incident and the experience of working in the film, which releases on April 28.

    What is your episode about?
    It's about a man (Manoj Pawa) who walks through the graveyard in the middle of the night and makes fun of dead people. I required a fat, but terrific actor, and I found him in Manoj.

    What was the incident that spooked you?
    I believe in spirits and decided not to shoot at a real graveyard, because I didn't want a unit of 50 to walk over people's graves. So we created a set in Film City. One night, we were shooting the heart of the story - the horror sequence in the graveyard.

    It was a 7 pm to 7 am shift. To create the ambience, I was playing eerie music (created by Amar Mohile and Sajid himself) very loudly in my car. Suddenly, we saw some snakes creeping slowly towards us. My unit was terrified. It was 5 am and pitch dark.

    They all panicked and ran helter-skelter. We didn't know when the snakes would come and bite our legs. So I told them to find the snakes and catch them before they did any harm. Finally, after an hour of searching, the unit managed to snare them and set them free in the jungles nearby. That was a horrific experience!

    How did Darna Zaroori Hai happen?
    Ramu called me to act in an episode of DZH and we were discussing where his earlier film Darna Mana Hai, had gone wrong. I told him it wasn't scary enough.

    So he asked me what was scary according to me and I narrated a story that my mom had told me when I was in fourth standard.

    Ramu said, 'This is superb! Why don't you direct the film?' and I agreed. From then on, he never tried to argue with me or influence me but just gave me a free hand. DZH will scare the living daylights out of people!

    How did Ramu react after he saw your film?
    He became emotional and told me that I was going to be one of the biggest directors of the country. I have a standing invitation from Ramu to direct any film of his and I will take it up one day. I respect Ramu a lot; he's one of the few passionate filmmakers left today.

    Why did you choose to direct a horror film, as opposed to a comedy?
    Just because I have a comic image doesn't mean that I can't do a horror film. I believe in ghosts and am a big horror movie buff. Fear is a common emotion and very real. I have always loved movies and don't know what else to make.

    What's next for you?
    Hey Baby, my next direction, produced by Sajid Nadiadwala, which stars Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Vidya Balan. Right now, we are scripting it. It's a romantic comedy and a musical drama. I took a month to work on the DZH episode. Imagine how much time it will take me to work on a two-and-a-half hour film.

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