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20 Years of Hungama EXCLUSIVE: Was Aftab Shivdasani’s character Nandu the son of Baburao Ganpatrao Apte from Hera Pheri? The actor opens up on this crossover, attempted 20 years before Pathaan and Tiger: “I think it would have been a fabulous crossover”

en Bollywood News 20 Years of Hungama EXCLUSIVE: Was Aftab Shivdasani’s character Nandu the son of Baburao Ganpatrao Apte from Hera Pheri? The actor opens up on this crossover, attempted 20 years before Pathaan and Tiger: “I think it would have been a fabulous crossover”

“I still can’t believe it’s been 20 years. Hungama (2003) is a timeless film,” was the first thing Aftab Shivdasani remarked when Bollywood Hungama exclusively talked to him about his much-loved comic caper, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on August 1. The actor had a long day and yet, took out time to excitedly share his memories of working on the film, which was directed by Priyadarshan and produced by Ratan Jain’s Venus Records And Tapes Pvt Ltd, his journey and a lot more.

20 Years of Hungama EXCLUSIVE: Was Aftab Shivdasani’s character Nandu the son of Baburao Ganpatrao Apte from Hera Pheri? The actor opens up on this crossover, attempted 20 years before Pathaan and Tiger: “I think it would have been a fabulous crossover”

Do you remember how you bagged Hungama?
I remember my manager got a call from Ratan ji’s office, informing me about a film with Priyan that they would like me to act in. We met in Sun-N-Sand Hotel, if my memory serves right, where I met Priyan sir, Ratan ji and Neeraj Vora for a narration. Neeraj Vora was the one who did the narration. The narration went on for nearly two hours. By the end of it, I was so confused that I took a pen and paper and started writing down the list of characters and their equations. I had to do it as I just couldn’t get who is doing what as there are so many cross-connections in the film. That’s how I try to make sense of the plot. I also remember I was laughing while listening to the story. I agreed to do it instantly. I always wanted to work with Priyan sir. Also, I had earlier worked with Neeraj Vora in Mast (1998), my first film. He was with me during Awara Paagal Deewana (2002). He had narrated its script as well and was on the set for every single shot. We got along really well and I have the deepest love and respect for him. I felt he was absolutely a genius. Hence, I was also comfortable hearing Hungama’s narration from him.

Honestly, I still don’t know who is playing what in the film! That’s because my track was pretty clear of all the cross-connections that were happening. After a point, I just gave up trying to understand the rest of the cross-connections!

But the greatness of the script and direction was that audiences didn’t get confused even once…
That’s the beauty of it. I can tell you that the actors were confused but the maker was not. What I especially liked about it is that we weren’t trying to be funny. The confrontation is so intense that it seems funny. That’s the kind of comedy I love doing.

How was it to work with Akshaye Khanna and Rimi Sen?
Akshaye and I actually had just two scenes. One was the confrontation scene and the other was in the climax. In the rest of the film, we never really cross paths. Most of my scenes were with Rimi, Upasana Singh ji and Tiku Talsania ji. As for Rimi, this was her first film. Yet, she was such a confident actor. Her timing was so impeccable. One couldn’t make out that this was her debut film. She was also great to work with as she was so good at comedy.

You spoke about Neeraj Vora and his greatness. If he was alive, he would have turned 60 years this year, in January…
His energy was so infectious. I still can’t come to terms with the fact that he’s no more. I don't think the void has been filled and I don’t think it will be filled.

Hungama is a remake of Poochakkoru Mookkuthi (1984) and interestingly, a lot of changes were made in dialogues. One of the underrated scenes in the film is when your character while performing in a restaurant tells a guest, ‘Divorce ke liye bhi gaana hai mere paas’. The angry guest retorts, ‘Woh tum jaa ke apne biwi ko sunao’!
(Laughs) Yes, that was Neeraj Vora’s improvisation. He had a background in Gujarati theatre. Hence, he came up with the best one-liners. And it was the timing…it was just unparalleled.

In a scene where your missing ad is shown, we come to know that Nandu’s surname is Apte and he was the son of Baburao Ganpatrao Apte, the iconic character played by Paresh Rawal in Hera Pheri (2000)…
This has become a popular meme. Honestly, this must be something that Neeraj ji and Priyan planted. I didn’t know the newspaper ad had a Baburao Apte reference.

This could have been the first crossover of Bollywood, much before Pathaan-Tiger and Singham-Simmba-Sooryavanshi…
(Laughs) Yes, it could have! I think it would have been a fabulous crossover. I actually saw it online just a few years ago. This is all thanks to social media.

Did you go to the cinema halls to check the audience's reaction? I remember people couldn’t stop laughing in our show, especially in the climax…
Unfortunately, I didn’t go for this film. But I did do so for other films of mine in the cinemas in a very incognito way. Nevertheless, it’s a film that is considered timeless. People tell me that it’s a rare film which they can watch over and over again. And yet, it feels like they are watching it for the first time. Sometimes, magic just happens. You don’t plan it.

How were the reviews for the film? Did our hard-nosed critics like the film?
I don’t remember. Also, I’ve never really looked at reviews much.

What did you think of Hungama 2 (2021)?
I haven’t seen it.

Next year, you’ll complete 25 years as an actor (if one doesn’t count his appearances as a child actor). How has been your journey?
Again, I just can’t believe it’ll be 25 years. It’s gone by so quickly. Sometimes, I feel I have just begun (my career) though I am sure I have worked in 55-60 films. I love what I do. Often, people complain that I do selective work. My reply is that I want quality work over quantity. In today’s day and age, so much choice is available due to the OTT platforms. Hence, I’d rather do something qualitative. I can’t lie with my work. I need to be passionately involved with what I do.

Is there anything in the pipeline?
There are a few projects that I am planning. I did an interesting film last year, Riwaj. It was supposed to release this year but I am not sure when it’ll come out. It’s quite an intense, socially-relevant film. It’s something which is in tandem with what’s happening in today’s society and a film I always wanted to do. I have an interesting character in this film. And there are a couple of exciting projects I plan to start after October.

You had announced in 2020 that you’d be producing a horror film, Dhund
That film is shelved.

Do you have plans to direct and produce?
I am not sure about direction. But my wife and I are definitely producing. We have also registered a company.

There are reports that Awara Paagal Deewana 2 is being made. Have you been approached for it?
I have no news about it. So, I can’t really say anything. But I am sure if it’s made, Firoz bhai (producer Firoz Nadiadwala) will do a great job.

Lastly, did you ever meet Raveena Tandon after Mast? She said in an interview that when you were a child actor, you puked on her hand after consuming too many chocolates for a scene…
(Laughs) Yes, that was for an ad for Cibaca toothpaste. Prahlad Kakar was directing it. She was an AD on that set. Honestly, it was 35 years ago. We met after that incident and laughed it off.

Has she forgiven you?
I hope she has (laughs).

Also Read: Aftab Shivdasani going kayaking in Malta will definitely inspire you to pack your bags today

More Pages: Hungama Box Office Collection , Hungama Movie Review


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