At precisely 5.52pm I call Sajid Khan. The mobile gets connected and pat comes the voice from the other end; “You were to call me at 6pm, right?” informs Sajid. I wasn’t late. Early can be eerie sometimes, and that isn’t funny. The funny man was up and ready to take my call in the next eight minutes. That’s how punctual he is. No kidding! Funny man Sajid Khan is all set to release his ‘film that will break all box office records’ (as quoted) on April 30. That means Housefull. It’s near impossible to think of a more talented character in The Indian Film Fraternity than Sajid Khan. He’s excelled in so many disciplines it’s almost absurd. Writer, Director, Anchor, Actor. We can go on and on. So what happens when a director like Sajid Khan takes over from the funny man Sajid Khan? Well, there is bound to be bountiful of laughter in the house full of rubber faced guys showcasing their white teeth in the dark room. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent chats up with the most gifted, creative, effervescent, sometimes eccentric and many times humorous talent of Indian Films, the director of Housefull, Sajid Khan, where he, believe it or not, came across as a serious raconteur talking about houseful of talents in Housefull and one of his best comic film – Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. There is much more. A serious conversation begins.
How punctual is Sajid Khan?
I’ve always been extremely punctual. This habit comes from watching movies in theatres at an early age. I was a cine-goer from childhood and I never wanted to miss any trailer before the film started. Somewhere it has helped me as a director too. All my actors swear by my punctuality. Yes, you cannot always be punctual due to bad and mad traffic and that’s where courtesy comes in too. I’m courteous too. I’ve always maintained that.
The first ever Indian Film to go on Blue Ray was Heyy Babyy your previous film as a director. Now with Housefull, you’ve started the first ever HD Video Blogs. Is Sajid unique in many ways?
It’s not the question of being unique. I like doing things which people will enjoy, just a little more, than just watching the film. I work extremely hard on the making of my films. I like to get it as real as possible rather than EPK’s (Electronic Press Kits) where the cast and the crew just sit next to the posters and say good things about each other. That’s a little outdated. I like doing grungier and real things. Housefull‘s HD Blog says a lot more into what goes on to make a film.
Housefull’s HD Blog says a lot more into what goes on to make a film
How do you describe your humour?
Honestly, I don’t think I’m that funny. I have a slightly indescribable sense of humour. Sometimes I’m mad, very dark, very, very stupid and extremely classy. You get to see all this in my film Housefull. The film has a variety range of humour.
Does it take time to write when you are actually humorous, funny and in many ways eccentric?
Most of the ideas are mine. You need to have a support team and a back up team. We need to have other minds also telling you, “Sajid, you’re stupid. This is a bad joke. Sajid, you’re too over the top.” You need to be in check with yourself. If I would’ve done everything on my own, I’m sure I’d have fallen flat on my face. I like working with three to four writers. Add to that, I’m slightly lazy. There are no limits to my thoughts. Someone has to stop me or vice versa. You never know what ideas you may crack when you’re sitting in a group discussion. I like working with female writers too. Sometimes, we get carried away with boy jokes and you see women not laughing on it. That keeps you in check too.
I like working with female writers too coz sometimes, we get carried away with boy jokes
Overseas box offices have always been safe when it comes to rom-coms and comedies. Does Housefull tread the same path?
No. See, a lot of people say that Heyy Babyy is a comedy. No, it’s not a comedy film. It had humour sprinkled in it. It’s basically a drama. If Heyy Babyy was a comedy, would it then have an emotional climax? Would it have a half an hour section in the hospital? Heyy Babyy is a drama which had comedy. Housefull is a comedy which has drama.
You said that somewhere you need to be stopped in your imaginative thinking. But how unstoppable were your actors?
Luckily, they all just shut their eyes and followed me. Slowly but steadily, they’re all saying, “Thank you very much Sajid. We trusted you and you didn’t f*** up.” All my cast listened to me and heard me out completely. I’ve made them do some bizarre stuff in the film. Stuff that they’ve never done in their life and in films. There is non-stop humour in the film. Housefull is a never-before-seen kind of a film.
I’ve made them do some bizarre stuff in the film. Stuff that they’ve never done in their life and in films
Two names hit your head in cast selection. Arjun Rampal and Jiah Khan. Could they handle your humour?
Housefull is not a comedy as I said earlier. It’s an entertainer. I’m not making any comparisons. Naseeb, Amar Akbar Anthony and 3 Idiots. All these films have large doses of humour but they aren’t comedy films. Housefull falls under the style of these entertainers. It’s got a lot of romance, lots of funny scenes and lots of drama. If you see the film, you’ll realise that Jiah is perfectly cast in the film and so is Arjun. They both were the obvious choices for the film, and luckily they could handle me more than my humour.
Do you share inputs with your sister who is also a director, Farah Khan?
First of all, we don’t live together. She stays with her husband. And even before her marriage, we’ve never ever crossed our paths when work was concerned. 99% of the time, I don’t know what she is doing. She doesn’t know my script and does five songs in the film. I was the last person who came to know that my sister is making Tees Maar Khan with Akshay Kumar. I swear. Not for once did she tell me and not for once did Akshay tell me. I don’t take advice from anybody and that’s precisely I told Akshay also, “Just trust me on this one and go with me because I’ve given three years of my life for this film and if it flops, you’re still going to have eight to nine movies with you, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to direct another film or not.” I have more to go down than my actors if Housefull doesn’t work.
I was the last person who came to know that my sister is making Tees Maar Khan with Akshay Kumar
From Hera Pheri to Housefull. How funny has Akshay got over the years and have you learnt something from him too?
Hera Pheri wasn’t the first film you saw Akshay Kumar do a comic role. Akshay did a full fledged comedy in a film called Mr and Mrs Khiladi. Yes, the film didn’t work and Hera Pheri worked. Yes, not only from Akshay. I get to learn a lot from my technicians too. I’m not one of the greatest directors ever nor do I make any claims to be the best. I just know that I’m a good story teller and I know how to tell a story. I’m the greatest audience member. I will always make films that ninety percent of the world wide audiences would like to go and see. Everybody who watches films for entertainment will like my films. I’m not talking about the art house cinema goers and the one to two percent of such critical critics. I have seen so much change in Akshay, not as an actor, but as a performer too. His sense for comedy is like a clean slate. You can write something and rub it off and again write. He absorbs a lot. More than anything else, I have yet to see any actor do a better comic role than Akshay when it comes to slapstick comedy. What Kishore Kumar used to bring on table with his physical comic roles, Akshay brings the same.
What Kishore Kumar used to bring on table with his physical comic roles, Akshay brings the same
When it comes to comedy, people can’t stop raving about the cult classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. People still buy DVD’s of that film.
It’s strange but Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron is a cult classic. It came way back in 1984. It was one of those rare film funded by the Government of India (NFDC – National Film Development Corporation) and was made in a budget of four to five lakhs. Kundan Shah was the director who was primarily a television director in those days. It had a brilliant cast of all unknown actors. The only known actor back then was Nasseruddin Shah. Just from a sit-com point of view, it wasn’t just topical but bizarre. The whole climax was mad – Mahabharata with a dead corpse on stage. Today, you may not enjoy the sound or lighting or technical aspects of the film. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron was like a David versus Goliath.
Describe Arjun Rampal
A sincere actor with lots of passion.
Describe Jiah Khan
Extremely hot and very sweet.
Describe Deepika Padukone
Very professional team player.
Describe Riteish Deshmukh
Addiction number two
Describe Boman Irani
Movie buff, crazy and mad like me and a sweetheart.
Describe Sajid Khan
Excited and not nervous. Not nervous because I’m hundred percent confident of the film breaking all records at the box office.
Describe Housefull, your film.
It’s going to be houseful.