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25 Years of Biwi No 1 EXCLUSIVE: Vashu Bhagnani reveals that 4000 ladies queued up to buy tickets in advance: “Uss zamane mein ladies ki line lagti nahin thi. Uss zamane mein sirf lungi waale, auto waale aur taxi waale aise lambi lines mein khade rehte the”

en Bollywood News 25 Years of Biwi No 1 EXCLUSIVE: Vashu Bhagnani reveals that 4000 ladies queued up to buy tickets in advance: “Uss zamane mein ladies ki line lagti nahin thi. Uss zamane mein sirf lungi waale, auto waale aur taxi waale aise lambi lines mein khade rehte the”

The much-loved entertainer, Biwi No 1, completed 25 years on May 28. The film is remembered for its plot, ensemble star cast, super-hit music and also because producer Vashu Bhagnani took the risk of releasing the David Dhawan directorial during the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999. The decision paid dividends for the veteran producer. As Biwi No 1 celebrated its 25th anniversary, Vashu Bhagnani spoke exclusively with Bollywood Hungama about the film and a lot more.

25 Years of Biwi No 1 EXCLUSIVE: Vashu Bhagnani reveals that 4000 ladies queued up to buy tickets in advance: “Uss zamane mein ladies ki line lagti nahin thi. Uss zamane mein sirf lungi waale, auto waale aur taxi waale aise lambi lines mein khade rehte the”

25 Years of Biwi No 1 EXCLUSIVE: Vashu Bhagnani reveals that 4000 ladies queued up to buy tickets in advance: “Uss zamane mein ladies ki line lagti nahin thi. Uss zamane mein sirf lungi waale, auto waale aur taxi waale aise lambi lines mein khade rehte the”

What made you release such a big film during the World Cup? I believe many cautioned you not to do so…
It was a technical discussion. Bahut se log discussion karke samaj nahin rahe the. Our marketing team said, ‘Aap World Cup mein release kar rahe hai. Lekin Sunil Gavaskar mana kar rahe hai kyunki uska cricket (match) aa raha hai’. I reasoned, ‘But Gavaskar is from cricket’. Also, when you have such doubts, it means that you don’t have confidence in your product. Secondly, I reminded that the World Cup is taking place in England and it’s 4 ½ hours behind us. Our matinee show would start at 12 noon and end at 3. Hence, there’s no problem with the first show. The first innings used to start at 3 or 4 pm and some of the matches will commence in the evening. Toh humko 2 show mein maar pad rahi thi. But we also had the advantage of getting 2 shows where the World Cup was not going to affect us.

My other argument was that if I didn’t come on May 29, I would have to come three weeks later and thus clash with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. It was a big film of Salman Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Main apne industry se kyun competition karoon? Those days, I was very clear – I’ll not pose a competition to anyone. I go by the same thought process even today. Koi aa gaya ussi date pe toh usko mana nahin kar sakte. Nevertheless, 25 years ago, I decided that I would not compete with my own industry. I’ll compete with the World Cup. Because World Cup is not cinema. Jo film lovers hai, woh picture dekhenge. Those who are cricket buffs would prefer the World Cup.

The decision paid off. Biwi No 1 got No 1 collections at that time. It was a super-duper hit. Even today, people remember the film. It’s not like we don’t fear competition. Our film might have been affected by 10-15%. But that doesn’t mean we compete with our industry.

25 Years of Biwi No 1 EXCLUSIVE: Vashu Bhagnani reveals that 4000 ladies queued up to buy tickets in advance: “Uss zamane mein ladies ki line lagti nahin thi. Uss zamane mein sirf lungi waale, auto waale aur taxi waale aise lambi lines mein khade rehte the”

Could you tell us about the craze generated by the film?
4 days before the release, on Monday, I went to Metro Cinema. I was shocked that 3000-4000 ladies were standing in the queue to buy tickets for Biwi No 1 in advance! Uss zamane mein ladies ki line lagti nahin thi. Uss zamane mein sirf lungi waale, auto waale aur taxi waale aise lambi lines mein khade rehte the. But with Biwi No 1, it was the ladies queuing up. This must have happened very rarely. Maybe, it happened for Hum Aapke Hain Koun.

Samar Khan, who was with Star TV, met me there and he took my interview. I remember I got teary-eyed while talking to him. This is because I was too stressed at that point. Logon ne mera kaan bhar diya tha, ‘You can’t release your film during the World Cup’, ‘Teri picture nahin chalegi’, ‘advance nahin lagega’, ‘tu barbaad ho jaayega’, etc. Some distributors even ran away. But I was convinced ki meri film bahut acchi bani hai. But when so many people are cautioning you, thoda toh darr lagta hi hai.

Then, I went inside the Metro cinema to ask for 150 tickets for the press. The manager refused! I think his name was Nelson. He said, ‘Aapko sirf 4 tickets milegi’! I was like, ‘Arre, meri picture hai yaar’! Those were the days when 60-70 people could be accommodated in preview theatres like Ketnav. However, I wanted the journalists to watch the film with the public so that the former could understand the impact the film was having on the latter.

Anyway, I again requested him. But he didn’t relent. He said, ‘Itni lambi queue lagi hai. Agar aapko itni saari tickets de di, toh police pakad ke maaregi’! When I look back to these episodes, I wonder, ‘Hamari film ke liye aisa sab hota thaYeh din wapis kab aayenge?’! Nowadays, we are in the multiplex era. Then, there were many single screens. Uska maza alag tha.

And not just in Mumbai, this happened across the world - the female audiences thronged the film in large numbers. Maybe it was because of the title of the film.

25 Years of Biwi No 1 EXCLUSIVE: Vashu Bhagnani reveals that 4000 ladies queued up to buy tickets in advance: “Uss zamane mein ladies ki line lagti nahin thi. Uss zamane mein sirf lungi waale, auto waale aur taxi waale aise lambi lines mein khade rehte the”

The film had a great star cast. Sushmita Sen gave a fabulous performance…
She’s a fantastic girl. And she was too good in the movie. Everyone in the film was superb. Even Saif Ali Khan is so lovely though he had a cameo. Tabu is awesome. So was Karisma Kapoor. The kids were too good. Even the dog was great!

But you know who was the biggest hero in the film? It was none other than our director, David Dhawan (smiles). In sabko hero banane waala woh hero hai. Do you know that the dog was blind? Yet, David ji managed to get him to act. It’s unbelievable. And the way he used to pamper the dog…you had to see it to believe it!

Is it true that Govinda left the film?
No, it’s not true. This film was such that no one would leave it! Even today, if I remake it, no actor would refuse.

Any plans to remake it? And any final thoughts?
Meri biwi ko 40 saal ho gaye hai (laughs)! Aur Biwi No 1 ko 25 saal. I have to make it and I want to make it (the remake). It has one of the finest storylines. Not just Biwi No 1, but I’d also like to make Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein (2001) and Hero No 1 (1996) again. I have to make it. These are cult films.

More Pages: Biwi No 1 Box Office Collection


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