The pure romantic saga, Vivah (2006), completed 17 years on November 10. The film is remembered for Sooraj Barjatya’s simple-but-effective direction, wonderful message, touching moments, evergreen songs and the performances of Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao. But one can’t deny that the supporting actors, too, did very well. One of them was Samir Soni. He played Sunil, the loving elder brother of Prem (Shahid Kapoor). In Baghban (2003), Samir earned the wrath of the audience but in Vivah, he was loved as the dutiful son and a devoted family member.
17 Years of Vivah EXCLUSIVE: “I remember when I was doing the film, I kept telling Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao that ‘You guys are the next Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit’” – Samir Soni
Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke with Samir Soni about Vivah’s 17th anniversary and a lot more.
How was it to work with director Sooraj Barjatya?
A lot of people say that the world shown in Rajshri’s films doesn’t exist. But the Barjatya house is just that. That is their culture and where they come from. It’s only when you work with them that you realize that. Just like it happened during Baghban, even for Vivah, I had my doubts. Everything I have doubts for does really well for me (laughs)! I distinctly remember my first meeting with Sooraj ji and father Raj babu (Rajkumar Barjatya). When I entered the room, both got up and said ‘Namaste’. I was not used to this. I looked behind to see if someone else also entered the room with me! Then they gave me a complete narration of the film.
When we were shooting, Sooraj ji would individually come to our vanity vans to explain the scene to us. No director does that. They’ll wait for you on the sets and explain the scene. If there’s a delay, he would tell me, ‘Sorry Samir, thoda late ho gaya hai. Thoda time lagega’. Then when we would go on the set, he’ll again individually discuss the scene.
Normally, there is chaos on the sets and people are shouting. But on the sets of Vivah, no one raised their voice since the director also doesn’t do it. It was incredible. If they ever call me for a film, I’d agree, regardless of what the role is.
On the last day of shoot for Lata Sabharwal and I, Anupam Kher ji asked me, ‘Aaj last day hai?’. I replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘Royega tu’! I was puzzled. After I was done, I was summoned by Sooraj ji on the sets. The entire unit had gathered around us. Sooraj ji had a mic on his hand. He mentioned each and every cast and crew member, including the six-year-old who played my son. He said, ‘Aapke saath kaam karke maza aaya. Aapse seekhne ko mila’. His humility is unbelievable. Then the whole unit clapped and played the title song of Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999). Where does this happen?
We were shooting in Almora. It was very cold and as time passed, the weather got warmer. Sooraj ji’s wife was leaving for Mumbai. She requested me, ‘Sooraj ji ko remind kar dena ki woh ek baar sweather pehente hai toh utaarte nahin. He forgets as he’s so involved in the shoot’. Who does that? Throughout the father, Raj babu was on the set, looking after everyone.
There was one interesting episode. I have this habit that I’ll give one look to the director to ask if the shot is okay. So once I did this and he went like ‘Oh, wow’! This happened for all takes. I told my mom, ‘Sooraj ji seems very impressed with me’. Then one day we were shooting a scene where we all are sleeping and Shahid is thinking about Amrita being on the terrace. All I was doing was sleeping. Still, he was like ‘Wow’! I told him, ‘Sooraj ji, yeh acchi baat nahin hai’ (laughs)! But that’s how they are. They encourage you so much that your confidence goes through the roof and your experience becomes a beautiful one.
Anyway, I was thinking that I am delivering a ground-breaking performance. But that man was so sweet that he would appreciate everything!
How was it working with Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao?
Shahid is a sweetheart and I love him. But he was a brat! He used to play pranks. I was sleeping one night and I heard a knock at the door. This was when we were stationed at Almora. There was a forest around our place. I opened the door and I saw a strange creature in white standing in front of me. I got spooked. Then I learned that Shahid Kapoor got his make-up man paint his face white and he wore a white bedsheet. He was going around and scaring everyone.
I see him as kid brother. That’s the camaraderie we have. And Amrita was a sweetheart too. When we were shooting in Nainital, after the pack-up, all of us – I, Shahid, Amrita, Lata, Seema Biswas – would go for a walk. It was a very rare thing.
The feedback for the film was unanimously positive…
It had the Rajshri values but still, it was very contemporary. Shahid and Amrita were just brilliant. I remember when I was doing the film, I kept telling them that ‘You are the next Salman and Madhuri’.
You will see me in this beautiful film that I have done, co-starring Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapur. It’s called Jab Khuli Kitaab. It is written and directed by Saurabh Shukla. I am looking forward to it. It’s my luck that I get to play Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapur’s son. They belong to different school of acting.
Do you plan to take up direction against after My Birthday Song (2018)?
I am always working on a script. It’s one way to keep the mind occupied. The script is called Karma and again, it’s a thriller. Because of Covid, things had come to a standstill but the situation is getting more relaxed. I definitely want to direct and am waiting for the opportunity.
More Pages: Vivah Box Office Collection , Vivah Movie Review
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