Frantic activity bordering on hysteria was precipitated earlier this week when Mallika Sherawat performed an item song with Akshay Kumar. Anees Bazmee had to borrow her dates from Indra Kumar who was shooting some intricate group shots with Sanjay Dutt (who plays Mallika's husband), Kangana Ranaut, Riteish Deshmukh and Arshad Warsi for Double Dhamaal.
Says a source, "Indra Kumar's first impulse was to say no. He had the combined dates of all the busy stars and they were shooting in a huge bungalow in Karjat that was supposed to represent Macau. There was no way he could let Mallika go. But Anees and Akshay were adamant. They left the good natured Indu with no choice."
Apparently, Indra Kumar had to fudge Mallika's shots in the group scenes pretending about her presence when in fact she was at a different venue shaking her booty with Akshay Kumar to the song 'Razia Goondon Mein Phans Gayi'. The song was apparently called 'Sheila Gundon Mein Phans Gayi'. But Akshay Kumar who had lately done a spectacular 'Sheila' number with Katrina Kaif in Tees Maar Khan put his dancing foot down. So Razia it was.
Director Indra Kumar of Double Dhamaal denies he had to use a body double when Mallika was 'lent' to Anees Bazmee.
Says the mild-manners movie-maker, "No, we didn't use a body double. But I had to adjust her shots in the group scenes so that she could be away for five days. See, when there are a group of actors shooting together the director doesn't really need all of them all the time. All the actors are unnecessarily kept waiting on the sets because the director doesn't work out his shot divisions in detail. I've been around long enough to know exactly when I need which actor during group scenes. I've shot with Aamir, Ajay, Kajol and Juhi in Ishq 'together' when the actors were not on the sets all at once. Anees is an old friend. One has to make such adjustments for colleagues."
Anees admits the Mallika item song was an after-thought and therefore created big date problems. "We had a situation for the song but until recently we had no song. When Pritam came up with Razia we immediately thought of Mallika Sherawat. I've worked with her in Welcome. And we had a good working relationship. In fact she was supposed to do an item song for Welcome which Malaika Arora finally did."
Anees admits he 'stole' Mallika away. "We needed her for five days and Indra Kumar who is a dear friend was sporting enough to lend Mallika to us."
Apparently, the shooting of the item song in Thank You was tantrum-free except that there were no working-lunches. Working lunches don't work for Mallika Sherawat. She walked out of a shooting of a reality show this week because she had to eat while working.
Fumes a channel source, "Salman Khan works non-stop for 10-12 hours while shooting for Bigg Boss. Known to arrive on his film sets after lunch for the morning shifts, he comes for Bigg Boss on the dot. But Madame Mallika just couldn't take the long hours on television. She staged a walk-out because she had to eat while working with the rest of the crew. We had to fudge some of her shots after she left."
The dates issue which Mallika's publicists mention for her ouster from 'Chak Dhoom Dhoom' cropped up when this week Anees Bazmee decided to shoot an item song with Mallika Sherawat.
Mallika got proper lunch breaks. Television alas doesn't respond too well to tantrums.