Believe it or Not?
Farah Khan, who has been known for taking her own sweet time to shoot her films, has wrapped up the principal shoot of her upcoming film Tees Maar Khan in a mere 52 days. In fact, only the much-awaited 'qawalli' featuring Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif is left to be shot.
Says Farah, "I have to give it to Akshay for making it all possible. Trust me, if not for him, it would have been impossible for me to finish the film so fast. Tees Maar Khan is quite huge in scale and is a major film by all means. Films like these take time to shoot because of so much action and songs involved. Still, it is due to fast working style of Akshay that ensured Tees Maar Khan to finish so soon."
Change of plan
In fact, the story goes that original plan chalked down by Farah required at least 100 days. Past experience meant that she was conscious of the timeline for Tees Maar Khan as well. When she informed Akshay about her plan and asked for at least 70 days commitment, he just laughed it all away.
"He asked me ki kya maine usse do movies ki shooting karwani hai", Farah smiles, "When I told him that I take time to make my films, he assured me that it won't be the case this time around. I was still nervous but looking at him work so fast in the first couple of days, I knew that I and my entire crew had to get into a super productive mode. In fact, while the film was shot for 52 days, Akshay's portions were wrapped up in 45 days itself."
Early morning shoots
What enhanced this productivity was Akshay's working schedule, which requires a day to begin at least by 8 AM. He encouraged all to begin early and get more productive. This went quite well with Farah as well since she too wakes up early, and hence together, their command to the entire unit was to pull up their socks and get started soon.
"On some days, Akshay used to be on the sets by 7 AM itself. I had to actually push my junior actors to be there earlier so that Akshay didn't have to wait. Everything moved ahead in super speed which saved a lot of time for all of us. Also, Shirish (Kunder) has written the film so well that a bound script came in handy to execute everything as per the plans. This way of working has totally spoilt me," acknowledges Farah.
She does acknowledge the fact that her earlier films took time.
"In case of Main Hoon Naa, the film was bound to take time as it was my first film", she continues, "On the other hand if you remember then Om Shanti Om had a lot of cameos. Sometimes even if we worked with a particular star for just a couple of hours, it would be registered as an entire day of shoot since we didn't shoot with anyone else. For example, the cameo by Akshay himself was shot in mere two and a half hours. Still, since we hadn't planned to shoot with anyone else that day, the entire day was logged in the overall schedule."
The Money factor
While Farah is (rightly) not quite in the mood to revisit the past and ponder over the time that her earlier films took, the super-efficient manner in which Tees Maar Khan has wrapped up means that some real cost saving has been an added benefit.
Says a senior member from the film's production team, "Every single day of shoot means lakhs being spent on getting the set in place, hiring equipment, paying crew members, who work as daily hires, and other expenses. Plus there is cost of money as well. Leave aside the fact that Farah has taken some time to shoot her earlier films; any average biggie does take 70-80 days at least to be shot. Still, completing in 52 days is commendable. With the pending 'qawalli' requiring not more than 5-6 days, Tees Maar Khan will easily fold up under 60 days. That's some real good money saved."
Bonus time folks
Farah has the final word here. "The film is titled Tees Maar Khan and with Akshay being so time conscious, I had a resolve with my entire unit that we had to can at least 'tees shots' (30 shots) in a day. Everyone, including my cameraman, knew the film shot by shot when we entered the sets. I had promised my crew that if the film's shoot completes under 60 days, there would be a bonus for them. Guess we managed to crack it all eventually and it's time for me to get it all arranged. Nothing would have been possible if not for my lead actor's energy here."
Also, starring Akshaye Khanna, Tees Maar Khan is expected to close the year on a high once it releases on the Christmas weekend, 24th December.