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25 Years of Sooryavansham EXCLUSIVE: Aanand Vardhan talks about his experience of working with Amitabh Bachchan; reacts to ‘zeher waali kheer’ memes: “If I want to work in Bollywood, I can simply say ‘I am the baccha that gives zeher waali kheer’. I am sure filmmakers would immediately recognize me”

en Bollywood News 25 Years of Sooryavansham EXCLUSIVE: Aanand Vardhan talks about his experience of working with Amitabh Bachchan; reacts to ‘zeher waali kheer’ memes: “If I want to work in Bollywood, I can simply say ‘I am the baccha that gives zeher waali kheer’. I am sure filmmakers would immediately recognize me”

The iconic family entertainer, Sooryavansham (1999), completed 25 years on May 23. The Amitabh Bachchan-starrer didn’t do well in cinemas but has become a cult on television. It’s also big in the world of memes and one of the scenes in the film where a young kid gives ‘zeher waali kheer’ to Big B has achieved legendary status. As Sooryavansham celebrated its 25thanniversary, Bollywood Hungama spoke to Aanand Vardhan, who played the young Sonu, Heera Thakur’s son and Thakur Bhanu Pratap’s grandson, about his memories and a lot more.

25 Years of Sooryavansham EXCLUSIVE Aanand Vardhan talks about his experience of working with Amitabh Bachchan; reacts to ‘zeher waali kheer’ memes “If I want to work in Bollywood, I can simply say ‘I am the baccha that gives zeher waali kheer’. I am sure filmmakers would immediately recognize me”

25 Years of Sooryavansham EXCLUSIVE: Aanand Vardhan talks about his experience of working with Amitabh Bachchan; reacts to ‘zeher waali kheer’ memes: “If I want to work in Bollywood, I can simply say ‘I am the baccha that gives zeher waali kheer’. I am sure filmmakers would immediately recognize me”

How did you come on board for Sooryavansham? You also featured in the original film Surya Vamsam (1997) and were the only actor who was repeated in the remake…
The makers tried a few child artists from the North initially. But they didn’t seem suitable. Meanwhile, Sooryavansham’s shoot had started. Amitabh sir then watched the Telugu version and he insisted that he wanted me on board. That’s how I came into the picture.

Did you know Hindi?
No, I didn’t. We were not even taught Hindi in school. But I had good grasping power. I had memorized all the dialogues. Mr Bachchan helped with subtle aspects since it was a Hindi film. Hence, there was a slight change in the dialogue delivery. He used to observe my shots and correct me, in case I faltered.

How was the experience of shooting Sooryavansham?
My first day of shooting was when we shot the elephant scene. I was called at around 7 in the morning. I didn’t know who Amitabh Bachchan was as I didn’t know Hindi and hence, had not seen his films! My family, however, was elated and was jumping with joy. I remember I was amazed to see that he was 6 feet tall (laughs). As years passed, I realized the greatness of working with him and I cherish the experience.

Sooryavansham has achieved a cult status on television; it is regularly premiered on Sony Max…
Yes, and there’s also a meme that ‘IPL is over; ab Sooryavansham wapis lagao’ (laughs)!

25 Years of Sooryavansham EXCLUSIVE: Aanand Vardhan talks about his experience of working with Amitabh Bachchan; reacts to ‘zeher waali kheer’ memes: “If I want to work in Bollywood, I can simply say ‘I am the baccha that gives zeher waali kheer’. I am sure filmmakers would immediately recognize me”

I guess the film was not a huge hit in theatres but whenever it is aired on television, its ratings are always on top. And to be on top for so many years indicates its popularity. And yes, it has become a cult flick and it feels great to be a part of such a classic. Moreover, getting a chance to work with Mr Amitabh Bachchan was the ultimate thing that can happen to anybody. It’s like a lifetime achievement award!

Talking of memes, the ‘zeher waali kheer’ scene has a separate fan base! What are your thoughts on it? I am sure no one from Sooryavansham’s team could have imagined that this scene would become so popular…
(Laughs) It’s so funny actually. Wherever there is a situation for it, people just comment ‘isko zeher waali kheer khila do’! And they put my picture of feeding the kheer to Amitabh sir. Hence, it is very funny. It's amazing people have memorized the film and still remember that scene so well. To be in their memories for such a long time and that too in a very funny and healthy way feels great. I have the confidence that if I get interested in working in Bollywood, I can simply say ‘I am the baccha that gives zeher waali kheer’. I am sure filmmakers would immediately recognize me (laughs)!

The still of you giving the kheer has also become meme material…
I know and let me share a funny incident with you. There’s a previous scene where he gives a sweet to me. This was the time when I had lost my tooth. Amitabh sir, hence, added the dialogue ‘Tumhara daant chuha le gaya’! He incorporated the line on the spot when he saw that I had lost the tooth (smiles). I didn’t even know what ‘chuha’ was back then! Then, I wondered ‘How can a mouse take away my tooth’! Later, I realized that it’s a funny saying in Hindi.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Aanand Vardhan PBS (@aanandpbs)

Soundarya, who plays your mother in the film, had an untimely death. What were your memories of working with her?
I had worked with her in my debut film as well. Sooryavansham was my third film with her. I had a great bond with her, even off-set. She was a generous and sweet soul. Probably, that’s why she left us so early. She was one of a kind; you rarely find someone like her in the industry. Whatever she was inside, that’s how she was even on the outside. No one can ever come close to her in terms of mental stability and genuineness she had.

Are you still in touch with Amitabh Bachchan?
No, unfortunately. But I hope to be in touch with him someday by feeding him kheer someday. Needless to say, it would be without zeher!

You are making a comeback as an actor. Would you like to work in Hindi films as well?
I don’t have any language barrier. For me, cinema is more about the story, performances etc. than the language. Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam are all the same for me. It’ll be a great opportunity if I get a chance to work in Bollywood. Right now, I am doing a Telugu film as a lead, titled Nidurinchu Jahapana. It has a unique story and I have an author-backed role. Hence, I am hoping that I should make some noise!

Any final thoughts on Sooryavansham?
Very rarely you get to be a part of a film that you cherish for the rest of your life. One such film is Sooryavansham purely because of Mr Amitabh Bachchan. He used to call me Tiger. He’d be like ‘Tiger, yahan aao’. Back then, I didn’t realize this was such a huge thing. My family, however, was mesmerized just looking at him! Now, I realize what I achieved as a child artist (smiles).

Also Read: 25 Years of Sooryavansham: Rekha dubbed for Soundarya as well as Jayasudha; Soundarya’s ten-second ‘seductive’ dance step is cut from the TV version

More Pages: Sooryavansham Box Office Collection


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