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18 Years Of Hum Tum EXCLUSIVE: “People felt that jab maine Hrithik Roshan ke saath hit film nahi di, toh Saif Ali Khan ke saath hit film kaise dega?” – Kunal Kohli

en Bollywood News 18 Years Of Hum Tum EXCLUSIVE: “People felt that jab maine Hrithik Roshan ke saath hit film nahi di, toh Saif Ali Khan ke saath hit film kaise dega?” – Kunal Kohli

The 2004 film Hum Tum is one of the best romcoms of Bollywood. It was one of the modern unusual love stories of Bollywood that came in cinemas and got the advantage of the multiplex era that was slowly emerging in the country. The Saif Ali Khan-Rani Mukerji starrer completed 18 years on May 28. On the film’s 18th anniversary, Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke to Kunal Kohli about the film and a lot more.

18 Years Of Hum Tum EXCLUSIVE: “People felt that jab maine Hrithik Roshan ke saath hit film nahi di, toh Saif Ali Khan ke saath hit film kaise dega?” – Kunal Kohli

18 Years Of Hum Tum EXCLUSIVE: “People felt that jab maine Hrithik Roshan ke saath hit film nahi di, toh Saif Ali Khan ke saath hit film kaise dega?” – Kunal Kohli

As per the details on the internet, Hum Tum’s real name was Na Jane Kab Pyar Ho Gaya. Is that true?
Bilkul nahi. Yeh kisne kaha aapko? The film was always called Hum Tum. Nobody had liked the title. Those days, there used to be late night 10:45 pm shows of elite English films at Sterling cinema in Mumbai. My assistant Siddharth Anand used to tell me, ‘Hum Tum box office hit jaisi nahi lagti…it is more like a Sterling 10:45 pm show type of a film. Wahan pe log yeh film dekhenge’ (laughs)! So, you see, nobody had faith. The only people who believed in the film were Adi Chopra and me. Moreover, my first film, Mujhse Dosti Karoge (2002), had not done well. That was an added pressure.

At that time, three films were being made in YRF (Yash Raj Films) to be released in 2004 – Veer-Zaara, Dhoom and Hum Tum. Everyone was excited for Veer-Zaara as it was Yash ji’s directorial and starred Shah Rukh Khan and for Dhoom as it had a good star cast and had action. People used to wonder, ‘Pata nahi Adi Hum Tum karke ajeeb naam ki film kyun bana raha hai’. Meanwhile, on the posters, they were cartoon characters. Saif’s solo films had never worked. On top of that, it was me as the director.

I had a big star cast for Mujhse Dosti Karoge. People felt that jab isne Hrithik Roshan ke saath hit film nahi di, toh Saif ke saath hit film kaise dega? Hence, many wondered why this film is even being made. The attitude was, ‘Company do acchi film bana rahi hai. Uska jo bhi raw stock bachta hai, woh Hum Tum waalon ko de do’! And guess what? Saare awards humko mil gaye!

18 Years Of Hum Tum EXCLUSIVE “People felt that jab maine Hrithik Roshan ke saath hit film nahi di, toh Saif Ali Khan ke saath hit film kaise dega” – Kunal Kohli

You, in fact, are the lucky one to get the golden lady at the Filmfare Awards as it was the 50th year. The next person to get a golden statute would get it only in 2055!
(Laughs) Yes and moreover, I got two Filmfare Awards, one for Best Scene and one for Best Director.

I believe Hum Tum had managed to create a buzz pre-release due to the songs, unusual and interesting promos and fresh style of narrative…
In the summer of 2004, a lot of big films were about to be released like Main Hoon Na, Yuva, Lakshya, etc. Amid all these films, Hum Tum was also releasing. Interestingly, India Today was doing a cover story titled ‘Bollywood’s blockbuster summer’. Journalist Kaveree Bamzai spoke to Mani Ratnam for Yuva, Farah Khan for Main Hoon Na and Govind Nihalani for Dev. I don’t know how and why but she decided to feature Hum Tum’s picture on the cover! Adi couldn’t believe it and he felt that she would not feature our film on the cover. Kaveree however had assured me that Hum Tum will feature on the cover. Adi told me, ‘It doesn’t matter. They can change it later. When they have a choice to feature Shah Rukh Khan or Hrithik Roshan, why would they put Saif Ali Khan?’

However, Kaveree kept her word. The day the magazine was released, I bought it and showed it to Adi. Adi was surprised! Suddenly, a buzz was created for the film. Not that the cover did the trick but even otherwise, the songs and promos did enhance the hype.

I still remember that Hum Tum was promoted on the popular TV show ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin’. It was a one-of-its-kind strategy in those days…
Yes, it was the first time that actors were introduced on a daily soap, and they were made part of the script. There was also one more show in which we had done the integration.

18 Years Of Hum Tum EXCLUSIVE: “People felt that jab maine Hrithik Roshan ke saath hit film nahi di, toh Saif Ali Khan ke saath hit film kaise dega?” – Kunal Kohli

The other promotional tactic that was memorable was to feature Hum Tum's cartoon strips in the Bombay Times. Whose idea was it?
It was me, Adi and the YRF marketing team who sat together and chalked it out. Then we approached Bombay Times and asked them to publish our cartoons. I still have the original sketches. I have framed and kept them! The animation company, Kathaa Animations, gave 5-6 options. I told them, ‘Iss character ka face structure lodusre ke baal loteesre ka munh lochauthe ka T-shirt lo’ etc. That’s how I created a new character.

Saif Ali Khan got a National Award for Hum Tum. Though he did a great job in the film, the same year actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan etc also delivered memorable performances. Many felt that they deserved the National Award more than Saif. Your thoughts?
It depends on the jury. Sudhir Mishra was one of the jury members and he said that it was a very difficult performance. He’s completely right. And yes, a lot of people were upset that Saif got the National Award. A lot of people were upset that I won the Best Director award. They felt the other films like Swades, Lakshya, Khakee, Veer-Zaara, Main Hoon Na etc. that year were more difficult to make. And that year, the Filmfare jury was headed by Ramesh Sippy. Ab Ramesh Sippy ke saath kaun argue karega? However, nobody realized that Hum Tum was a difficult film to direct. It is not easy to make a film with two characters. When you have the dependency on drama, sets, costumes, scale etc, then it’s different. In Hum Tum, there was no such backing. If the characters don’t work, nothing works. It’s all over.

More Pages: Hum Tum Box Office Collection , Hum Tum Movie Review


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