Om Shanti Om (2007), which was released 15 years ago, is special for many reasons. One of its most memorable aspects was the song ‘Deewangi Deewangi’. It featured as many as 31 stars, including the lead actor Shah Rukh Khan. There was madness in the cinemas as viewers had never seen so many stars in one film, that too in a span of just nine minutes. Many moviegoers have often wondered how director Farah Khan managed to pull it off and what was the atmosphere on the set like when the song was being filmed? The book, 'The Making Of Om Shanti Om' written by the film's writer Mushtaq Shaikh, has thrown light on this aspect.
15 Years of Om Shanti Om: The INSIDE Story of how the STAR-STUDDED song ‘Deewangi Deewangi’ was shot; Shah Rukh Khan stood at the gates to WELCOME the 30 stars; wrote them a personalized letter and gave them a gift hamper
In this book, Mushtaq has dedicated an entire chapter to the filming experience of this song, which took place at Mumbai’s Film City. At the very onset, he mentions that this was a time when Farah Khan was pregnant and was sick. She sat on a chair specially designed for her. Despite her illness, Farah pulled a prank on each celebrity guest. She made the assistants stand at the gate and yell “You are looking fabulous” the moment they walked in!
Interestingly, as per the details in the book, even Shah Rukh Khan stood at the door to welcome each guest and escort them inside. This prompted Farah Khan to call SRK a ‘Darban’!
On the first day of the song shoot, Mushtaq reveals that the atmosphere was something else as everyone was quite pumped up. Cinematographer V Manikandan was restless as he felt that each set of stars will need a different lighting and background, and hence it’ll be a tedious affair. Late Bobby Chawla, the executive producer, was seen counting the food hampers which needed to be given to the stars.
Mushtaq Shaikh then writes that Jeetendra and his son Tusshar Kapoor were the first ones to shoot their portions on the first day. This was followed by the shot of Priyanka Chopra.
On day 3, while Rani Mukerji was shooting her scenes, Vidya Balan came in. On the other hand, Karisma Kapoor, too, had entered the set and Mushtaq reveals that initially, she was nervous as she was facing the camera after a long time, but she gave a great shot as soon as the director yelled ‘Action’. Dino Morea, Amrita Arora, Arbaaz Khan, Malaika Arora and Zayed Khan also shot on the third day.
On day 4, Urmila Matondkar’s shot happened first followed by that of Tabu. Tabu took a while to get the steps right and once done, she gave Shah Rukh a shoulder massage, writes Mushtaq! Juhi Chawla came next followed by Shabana Azmi. Her husband Javed Akhtar, too, accompanied her on the set and incidentally, he was also the lyricist of ‘Deewangi Deewangi’.
Day 5 was epic as Kajol performed an intense romantic dance step with Shah Rukh Khan. No sooner was it done, than Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan came in, resulting in madness on the sets. Lara Dutta too entered the set, and she was the only one whose date matched with the rest of the actors. Hence, she got a chance to share screen space with the trio as well as Shah Rukh Khan. Mushtaq writes that the scene where Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan climbed on top of the bar and threw their jacket led to a lot of cheering and hooting from the crew members and junior artists.
And that was not all. The same day, Dharmendra also stepped in and after his step was canned, Salman Khan did an impromptu gig with Dharmendra. Saif Ali Khan also joined in the fun and the funny dance moment was retained in the film.
Day 6 started on a rocking note as Mithun Chakraborty came in. Mushtaq reveals that he was mobbed, and Farah Khan had to send her assistants to escort him on the sets. Shilpa Shetty was supposed to shoot on day 5 but since her costume was not ready, she was asked to report the next day. She was happy to reunite with Shah Rukh after Baazigar (1993). This was also the time when she had just won the UK reality show, ‘Big Brother’. Govinda, Suniel Shetty and Aftab Shivdasani also completed their portions on the second last day.
On day 7, the last day, Bobby Deol and Preity Zinta shot their part and then came the eternal Rekha on the sets. Mushtaq Shaikh writes that the diva planting a kiss on the cheeks of Shah Rukh Khan and Riteish Deshmukh was her improvisation. He also narrates that she would wear her spectacles while checking the shots on the monitor. She even asked a photographer not to click her bespectacled picture. She told him, “Don’t click. Raaz khol doge?”.
In this chapter, Mushtaq Shaikh also reveals how the stars came on board. He says that most of them were ready the moment they were told about the concept. Then their schedules were checked and accordingly, it was decided to shoot the song over 7 days. The idea was to film with 5 to 7 actors per day, give or take a star or two.
Among the actors who couldn’t make it were Aamir Khan, as he was busy with Taare Zameen Par (2007), and Sridevi. The Bachchans also declined as Abhishek Bachchan was getting married to Aishwarya at the same time. Lastly, Dev Anand refused as he didn’t like doing guest appearances. According to Mushtaq, Farah jokingly remarked, “I guess he didn’t want a hit film to his credit!”
Lastly, the writer says that apart from escorting guests and shooting with them, Shah Rukh Khan was also busy giving out gift hampers to every star. He also wrote personalized letters to them and each one was different from the other. The goodwill that Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan enjoyed helped them get these actors on board and they made sure they were treated right. This kind of camaraderie is rare and as Mushtaq Shaikh rightly mentions, “50-100 years from now, in a world full of hatred and self-centeredness, generations will wonder how so many people could willingly be a part of this grand joke that they played upon themselves, and had a good laugh while at it.”
More Pages: Om Shanti Om Box Office Collection , Om Shanti Om Movie Review
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