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Last Updated 15.11.2019 | 10:20 PM IST
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A R Rahman launches movement for Taj Mahal

He waited for Abhishek Bachchan‘s approval for two years. And when he eventually got the nod, he wrapped up the entire shooting of his debut film in two months flat. Meet Apoorva Lakhia, director of MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST, whose very first film will be premiered at the forthcoming I.I.F.A. Awards 2003 in South Africa next month. Apoorva was also the first assistant to director Ashutosh Gowariker during the making of LAGAAN.

He belongs to a film family, his father Pahlaj Nihalani is one of the most respected names in the film fraternity. But he wanted to carve a niche for himself. Meet Vishal Nihalani [Vicky to friends], the down-to-earth young producer of MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST, whose meticulous planning, coupled with years of experience in home-productions, helped him complete his maiden venture in a record span.

Since the time the promos of this Abhishek Bachchan Lara Dutta starrer went on air, the excitement for the film has been growing steadfastly. In fact, by a sheer coincidence, the promos of the film bear resemblance to Aamir Khan‘s success story LAGAAN. Were the makers inspired by LAGAAN? Not at all, pat comes the reply from Apoorva, The similarity between the two films is that the subjects of both were set in a village and two, a few artistes are common. But the similarities end there.

MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST was shot in a tight schedule from 27th November, 2002 to 1st February, 2003 in Jaisalmer [Rajasthan]. That was possible because Apoorva had planned everything minutely. The entire unit used to leave in a common bus to the location at 6 a.m. everyday. If at all anybody wanted to rest, we had made provisions on the sets itself, Vicky states.

A massive village set with 40 proper liveable huts with working kitchens, 2 working wells, 5 cow sheds, a temple, et al was erected by the makers of the film, which was gifted to the Collector once the shooting ended. The film is about electricity coming to a small village in Rajasthan. Today, rural India still has some villages that do not have electricity; MUMBAI SE AAYA MERA DOST takes place in one such village.

Actually, the story idea originated when Apoorva was travelling in Rajasthan with his three American friends. The car ran out of fuel and it was pitch dark. Suddenly, Apoorva saw a few people coming in their direction, holding lanterns in their hands. Much later, Apoorva got to know that it was one of those villages that did not have electricity. That set him thinking and he started writing a story around this theme.

The young director, who has worked on several Hollywood productions in the past [production assistant to first assistant director], cast Abhishek because he suited the character best.

One would’ve expected Vicky to handle the directorial reins of the film himself. After all, he has assisted David Dhawan in a number of films. But I must confess that Apoorva has done a splendid job as a director. Actually, he’s a dream to work with, Vicky states.

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