Snehal Daabbi might not be a familiar name for most viewers in Bollywood. But he has played some of the funniest characters in the last 20-21 years, from Hera Pheri (2000) to Deewane Huye Paagal (2005) to A Wednesday (2008) and many other films. However, a role that stands out is the one he essayed in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (2001). As Aaj Kapoor, a conman who claims to be a Bollywood bigshot and who fools Aslam Bhai (Johny Lever), Snehal Daabbi was a riot. It’s not a surprise, hence, that his performance and his role are remembered 2 decades later and even now, one can’t control one’s laughter while watching his antics.
Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega completed 20 years some days back, on June 29. Bollywood Hungama decided to speak to Snehal Daabbi about his role in the film, his journey and a lot more.
Did you remember that Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega completed 20 years?
No, I did not. 20 saal ho gaye kya? My god!
How was the experience playing the role of Aaj Kapoor? It was unlike anything we had seen before and audiences remember the character and his dialogues even today…
We improvised a lot for the role. Woh track likha hua hi nahi tha. Scene chala jaata tha aur director ko malum hi nahi hota tha ki ‘cut’ kahaan bolna hai. Wahan Johny bhai (Johny Lever) kuch bolte the, yahaan main bolta tha. We had to tell the director E Niwas, “Cut kab karega?”
Our scenes used to be shot in the evening and night, after Fardeen Khan and Aftab Shivdasani were done for the day. Aftab was there in some of our scenes though. Still, they used to hang around on the sets as they were enjoying seeing our scenes. The film was shot in Hyderabad. So they were like “Hotel jaa ke kya karenge; yahan timepass hoga. In logon ka kuch bhi chalta rehta hai”. So one day I saw Fardeen on the set and added the dialogue, “Fardeen ko kaun laaya aaya Juhu se Jungle tak?”!
How was it working with Johny Lever, who also has a superb comic timing?
This was the first time I was working with Johny bhai. Director E Niwas told me, “Johnny bhai saamne waale actor ko khaa jaate hai”. I thought “Main Mumbai ki paidaaish hoon. Aisa kuch nahi hoga.” The first day we shot was the scene where Aaj Kapoor takes Aslam Bhai to Aishwarya Rai’s house. So we had rehearsed properly. To show the kameenapan of my character, I consumed Manikchand. During the rehearsals, I tell Johny bhai, “Yeh Aishwarya ka ghar hai”. But during the take, I spit the manikchand. Then I point towards the house and was about to say my dialogue. But by then, Johny bhai spoke my line with a questioning tone, “Yeh Aishwarya ka ghar hai?” If I would have replied in the affirmative, it would not have suited. So I spontaneously retorted, “Tu dekha hai kya?”. After this episode, Johnny told me, “Bahut harami hai tu toh”. I told him, “Bhai, mere dialogue pe aap aaoge toh main issi tarah aaunga”.
We had a vanity van but it was divided into two. We became so close that we decided to open the door that separated mine and his section. Humne vanity van ko 2 BHK bana diya! He also started enjoying the process and would say, “Chal khelte hai yaar”. Once the director would shout “Action”, nobody on the set would know that when the scene will end. Even dialogues like “Haath mein 5 ungli hai. 6 hoti toh Hrithik bana deta” all happened on the spur of the moment. We never thought that people would love this track so much.
Towards the end, you claim that Aslam Bhai’s debut film will be made by Sooraj Aditya Johar Bhansali. Did you come up with this name?
Sooraj Aditya Johar Bhansali was also my inspiration. The initial dialogue was “4 filmon ka masala ek hi film mein”. At that point, Sooraj Barjatya, Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali were 4 of the biggest directors. That’s how I coined the name and the dialogue was changed to “4 hit directors ka masala ek hi film mein”. Even the name of the film was something like Hum Dilwaalon Ko Bahut Kuch Hota Hai Sanam!
You played a similar part in Mast (1999) as well, where you were a Sridevi fan. Mast was directed by Ram Gopal Varma and he’s also a huge Sridevi fan. It seemed that your character was inspired by him.
Yes, correct. Ramu used to tell me that even he is a huge Sridevi fan. Ramu had warned me that “Boney Kapoor ko gussa aayega”. And that’s what happened. He was very angry for a long time. Par mujhe kuch fark nahi padta tha.
In today’s times, some people would have had reservations with the phrase, “Rapchik maal” that you used in Hera Pheri. Even your part in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega would have led to trolling; certain celebs would not have liked it at all. Even the filmmakers would have avoided it. Do you think you would have been able to pull such roles in the present-day?
Main toh karta aur uss waqt bhi mujhe bhugatna pada tha. But one should take such things in stride. You can’t feel offended. After Satya (1998) released, Ramu told me, “That chidiya-kauva-ghoda joke was vulgar”. I told him, “Underworld waale hai. Santa Banta ke jokes thodi bolenge”. Aap galat sochte ho toh aapko samaj mein aayega. But ‘chidiya’, ‘kauva’ and ‘ghoda’ were typical underworld terms. And I knew that those from Mumbai and who have seen the underworld closely would understand. Toh uss waqt main kuch bhi bol deta tha screen pe. Now people get a bit apprehensive and wonder how a particular person or section would react. And pehle se kuch log aise hai ki goad mein baithna zyada pasand karte the. Main kabhi kisi ke goad mein nahi baitha hoon. That’s the reason I am doing my independent production right now. And there’s digital boom. So I have started my own banner and have been doing something of my own.
For almost 5 years, I was in the UK. Yahan bada sa panga tha. Koi dhang ki film nahi ban rahi thi. In the UK, I did theatre, worked in a web series and in a film named Trespassing. I played the role of an Italian mafia for which I had to put on a lot of weight. Currently, I am working on Bachchan Pandey. A little bit of shooting is still left. This will be followed by Heropanti 2. I have now decided to do only big projects and my productions. But all my ventures will have humour as that’s my god-gifted talent.
Do you feel the desire to do non-funny roles?
I do wish to do serious roles but people typecast a lot. Thankfully, in Bachchan Pandey, I got a chance to do such a role. I am playing a hardcore villain in the film. In my film Mogambo Calling, I am essaying the part of a psychopath killer.
Are you from Mumbai? Could you tell us about how you became a part of films?
I am born and brought up in Mumbai. I had done electronic engineering from Navi Mumbai. For the inter-collegiate competition, I won the prize for best actor and best direction for 5 continuous years. Then I got into Gujarat theatre. Me and Neeraj Vora were partners. Paresh Rawal ka bhi alag group tha uss time pe. I learnt a lot while working with the talented people.
As per IMDb, your debut film was Mahaanta (1997)...
No, that’s not true. I was offered Mahaanta but I didn’t work in the film. The shoot was supposed to take place in South Africa. I wonder how I am mentioned on Mahaanta’s IMDb page.
Who all are there in your family? And how was your experience working in UK?
In my family, there’s my mother, father, younger brother who is settled in the USA, my wife who is a spiritual healer, and my dog. In London, I used to stay with my in-laws. My wife is from the UK. Even now, I keep shuttling between Mumbai and London. I like working there a lot. Yahan paise aate nahi actor ke paas. Log kha jaate hai paise. Also, the politics which goes on here, all that is missing there. Everybody works with passion. Even the make-up man can tell the director, “Wait, I am not ready”! Yahan toh sab ek doosre ki goad mein baithenge. Also, I like doing Gujarati plays abroad as we are paid well. Interestingly, Gujaratis are everywhere. Aap mangal pe bhi chale jaaoge toh thepla mil sakta hai aapko wahan!
Could you tell us about your directorial venture, Utavle Bavle?
That film is completed and would release digitally. When I was in London, I also did a three-year course at London Film Academy.
And you have acted and produced Mogambo Calling, which you are working on currently in Goa. Is that right?
I am the actor, producer, writer and also the director of my film. Kuch cheez chodne ka hi nahi!
Coming back to your films, you were too good in A Wednesday (2008), as Electric Baba…
Director Neeraj Pandey is my friend. Woh toh bechara pehli film kar raha tha. I told him that I’ll work out the scene. I instructed the production to dig a 6-feet pit. The idea was that I’ll sit with mineral water and glucose biscuit in the pit. Main khadde se bahar bhi nahi aaunga. Neeraj liked the idea. But when I reached the set, I saw that they had not dug the pit. Phir humne scene khade khade hi kar liya.
More Pages: Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega Box Office Collection , Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega Movie Review
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