The name Vashu Bhagnani conjures up images of a person who believes in big-budget fares. In a career spanning less than a decade, the producer has delivered a string of hits, like COOLIE NO. 1, HERO NO. 1, BIWI NO. 1, PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA, BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN, MUJHE KUCCH KEHNA HAI... The name Vashu Bhagnani invokes images of a person who is absolutely passionate about cinema. He's one producer who not only believes in making qualitative films with passion, but also releasing them with zeal and gusto. He'd gamble his last shirt on his movies... The name Vashu Bhagnani also conjures up images of a person who believes in making news. Can we ever forget the lavish launch of BADE MIYA CHOTE MIYAN at a suburban hotel of Mumbai? Or the mid-air music release of OUT OF CONTROL, en route to New Delhi? Vashu Bhagnani belongs to the club of prolific film-makers and not without reasons. Always aiming for newer horizons and setting new goals, Vashu went a step further and launched his new film VAADA in Singapore. Starring Arjun Rampal, Amisha Patel and Zayed Khan, VAADA is being directed by Satish Kaushik [he had directed the immensely successful MUJHE KUCCH KEHNA HAI for the Midas touch producer]. 'S' FOR SINGAPORE, 'S' FOR SUCCESS In fact, this is the third time I'm shooting in Singapore, Vashu's warm and friendly smile greets me, as I set foot at the Changi International Airport [this writer was invited to Singapore for the launch of the film]. Singapore is special. Not only is the Singapore Tourism Board going all out to facilitate the shooting of VAADA in the country, Vashu finds Singapore lucky for his films. I shot the 'Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai' song [filmed on Salman, Karisma in BIWI NO. 1] here. Prior to that I launched HERO NO. 1 in Singapore. And as luck would have it, both HERO NO. 1 and BIWI NO. 1 proved smash hits. Let's hope Singapore proves lucky the third time around, the producer smiles. AFTER MID-AIR, IT WAS SEA If Vashu had his way, VAADA would've had the distinction of being the first Hindi film to be launched in an ocean. Yes, after a mid-air event [OUT OF CONTROL], Vashu was planning to launch his latest offering while sailing on Star Cruise. But that was not to be, he divulges, I got permissions from April 9, though I had dates from March 28 onwards. I couldn't have cancelled my artistes' dates to accommodate the launch. But Vashu is shooting a portion of the film on Star Cruise later. VAADA brings the MUJHE KUCCH KEHNA HAI producer and director combo together after a three-year hiatus. Satish was busy with numerous assignments in the intervening period. Besides, I also had some commitments to fulfill. But when Rumi [writer Rumi Jaffrey has penned a number of Vashu Bhagnani flicks] came up with the hardbound script of VAADA, both Satish and I decided to start it instantaneously, says an excited Vashu. But weren't Satish and Vashu supposed to start BISAAT with Ritesh Deshmukh, Zayed Khan and Esha Deol? Does that mean that the project is on the backburner? Yes, we were supposed to start BISAAT before VAADA, but BISAAT is the kind of film that requires to be shot at various locations, and that would take time. On the other hand, VAADA will be completed in three consecutive schedules, by July hopefully, he says, We plan to start BISAAT once VAADA is 80% complete. That's for sure. NO MISUNDERSTANDINGS WITH ARJUN VAADA also brings Vashu and Arjun Rampal together after DEEWANAPAN. Reportedly, there were cracks in their friendship after the release of the film. Not true at all, Vashu clarifies, In fact, I sent 3-4 scripts to Arjun in the intervening period, but somehow things didn't work out. At times Arjun didn't like the script, at times he wasn't too sure of his role. There wasn't any third reason at all. Arjun Rampal seconds that separately with this writer. Vashu-ji had always been in touch after DEEWANAPAN and he did send me a couple of scripts too. But I need to be doubly sure about the role. Like, when Venus approached me for HUMRAAZ, I felt I would not be able to carry off the character with grey shades [Akshaye Khanna was signed subsequently] with flourish and hence decided to opt out. Ratan-ji [Ratan Jain of Venus] and I did promise that we'd work in the future and here we are, doing ELAAN together. Similarly, there were no misunderstandings with Vashu-ji. STAY FIT, THINK YOUNG, MAKE YOUTHFUL FILMS Satish Kaushik is equally gung ho about VAADA. On the professional front, Satish has never had it so good. His kitty is full with several plum assignments - he's directing MILENGE MILENGE with Shahid and Kareena, has started shooting for VAADA and is about to start the sequel to HERA PHERI as also an Ajay Devgan starrer. All starring the new breed of actors. Believe me, it's intentional, the TERE NAAM director tells me, I've realized that to keep abreast with what's happening around you, you need to work with the new generation. I've started taking life much more seriously. I am into workouts [he spends one hour everyday on the treadmill], I try to listen to the music that the new generation is hooked on to, make it a point to visit pubs when free, watch television when I get time... that's my way of staying fit, thinking young and make youthful films. So how 'youthful' is the script of VAADA? Believe me, I am learning so much by watching Arjun, Amisha and Zayed perform, he admits honestly, They bring a lot of positive energy on the sets. When I read the script, their faces crossed my mind. I would say the script of VAADA is its USP. And with a producer like Vashu Bhagnani backing the project, it's sone pe suhaaga. It's been almost three years since Satish and Vashu worked with each other. Vashu-ji keeps joking that ab main bada director ban gaya hoon. But that's far from true. You have to get tempted by the script. If the script is in order before you start shooting, half your job is done. Coming to your question, when two people have been associated with a hit [MUJHE KUCCH KEHNA HAI], the expectations from their next film multiply ten-fold. VAADA will more than live up to the hype and expectations, let me add, he says confidently. RIGHT CAST, RIGHT SCRIPT But what prompted Satish to settle for a cast that's not too 'hot' by the market standards. We're making a film, not a proposal, Satish smiles, Yes, selling a film is important, but you've to ensure that the characters look the part they've been asked to portray. Take TERE NAAM for instance. I couldn't have cast a glamorous doll in the role that Bhumika Chawla essayed in that film. Ditto for Salman's character; it had to look real. Talking of VAADA, the three principal roles seem tailormade for Arjun, Amisha and Zayed. And when you see the drama unfold on the big screen, you'll agree that the casting couldn't have been better. What's so special about VAADA? One of the reasons that attracted me towards VAADA was the script. It's all about mind games. And I have never directed a film like this before. It falls into an altogether different genre. It's not the usual thriller. It's not the usual love triangle. It's not a routine emotional film. The script is something else altogether, Satish confides. ARJUN LOOKS FORWARD TO 2004 Arjun Rampal is looking forward to the year 2004. Besides Rajiv Rai's SAMBHAV and Venus and Vikram Bhatt's ELAAN, the model turned actor will also have two more releases - VAADA and Neeraj Vora's new film. A crucial year, no doubt! For his role in VAADA, the strapping 6-footer has undergone a personality change. He's sporting a goatee and will be dressed in formals in major portions of the film. The goatee is irritating. My daughter refuses to kiss me these days, he laughs. But on a serious note, Arjun does admit that VAADA is on top of his agenda at the moment. I was bowled by the script when I heard it. We actors always look for that flawless script to come our way. And when you do get an offer, you don't want to let it go. VAADA is that kind of a film. I am completely charged, he states. It's the first time Arjun is sharing the frame with Zayed Khan [he's like a kid-brother, I am enjoying working with him] and the second time with Amisha Patel [after ELAAN]. It would be interesting to see how the drama unfurls on the big screen, but I must admit, I was looking forward to an opportunity of working with Satish-ji some day, he states. MAKING ZAYED'S JOB EASIER Another person who seems excited at the prospects of working with Satish Kaushik is Zayed Khan. It's important to have a good director at the helm of affairs. And if the person happens to be an actor as well, it makes your job much more easier. Like, there are times when I am preparing for a scene and that very moment Satish-ji comes up with variations for me to choose from. It makes the actors' job so easy, he smiles. One-film-old Zayed is now keeping his fingers crossed for MAIN HOON NA, which is his next release. Working with Shah Rukh was a delight. The atmosphere on the sets was fantastic, he reminisces. With films like IDIOT, VAADA and Nitin Manmohan's next [with cousin Fardeen Khan] in his kitty, this young Khan is raring to go. THE MAHURAT The mahurat of VAADA will go down as an affair to remember. Prior to the mahurat ceremony, Vashu Bhagnani and the team of VAADA interacted with the press at Jurong Bird Park, with the chirpy birds also 'seated' on the dais. For the mahurat shot, Vashu Bhagnani's daughter Deepshikha Bhagnani sounded the clapper-board, Mrs. Puja Bhagnani switched on the camera and Dinesh Jain [Vashu-ji's friend] broke the auspicious coconut. VAADA is being shot till April 20 in Singapore. So far, music director Himesh Reshammiya has recorded one song, while two more songs will be recorded shortly.
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