Farah Khan is not just a successful choreographer but also an accomplished director. Several choreographers have donned the director’s hat so far, but way back in 2004, she was the first one to do so, with her directorial debut Main Hoon Na. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Zayed Khan, Amrita Rao and Sushmita Sen, the film was loved by the audiences and is today fondly remembered even today. However, at the time of its release, Farah faced a harrowing time.
EXPLOSIVE: “A critic gave the film half a star and the headline was ‘Main Hoon Naaaah’. I was like, ‘F**k the reviews'” – Farah Khan
Farah Khan opened up about this aspect when Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke to her on her 30th anniversary in Bollywood. When asked whether it was difficult for people to perceive her transition from choreographer to director, Farah explained, “I don’t know what people were perceiving. 2-3 days after Main Hoon Na (2004) was released, there was a lot of industry bitching. I was depressed during the first weekend. Those were the people for whom I’ve done songs, at times, even for free, and they were bitching me out. They should be happy for me. These people were claiming that ‘Weekend kar liya Main Hoon Na ne kyunki Shah Rukh Khan ki film hai. Lekin Monday se picture giregi’. That’s a very famous saying in Bollywood. However, it held strongly on Monday and Tuesday as well. I was like ‘F**k the reviews. People are loving the film’. After Tuesday, I felt relieved. Until then, I was not enjoying the success.”
So what were the industry people saying exactly? She replied, “They’d be like ‘yeh kya picture hai’. After a long time, a masala film had come. Till then, love stories were in vogue, made by directors like Sooraj Barjatya, Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar etc. Shah Rukh Khan was only doing love stories. That was the reason. And the kind of humour it had; like a lot of weird things were happening in the movie!” Interestingly, it’s the eccentric and funny characters and moments that also made Main Hoon Na memorable for its fans.
The critics were quite harsh to the film. Farah Khan narrated, “One critic did a fab review on the front page of Mid-Day, that too on Friday morning, before the shows of the film start for the day. Reviews usually used to come out on Saturday. It was the first time they published a review on Friday, that too on the front page. He gave the film half a star and the headline was ‘Main Hoon Naaaah’! He had ripped the movie to pieces. I had gone into shock as according to us, we were making the best movie possible (laughs)! So I was wondering how can anyone not like this movie. Hence, I got a jolt.” She then laughingly added, “I am still waiting for that critic to apologize to me.”
Farah Khan feels the situation hasn’t changed even today with regards to critics blasting masala entertainers, “Abhi bhi hota hai yeh. Jo critics jiski taareef karte hai, who film Rs. 2 crore ka opening bhi nahi leti hai. Aur jiski band bajate hai, that film does Rs. 100 or Rs. 200 crore lifetime. However, Mid-Day’s was a particularly nasty review that I remember.”
Farah is happy that the audiences showered love and continues to do so. She said, “I never thought Sushmita Sen would become a rage. She literally had six or eight dialogues in the film! She finished dubbing in 1 hour! Now, whenever you see the film, just count how many lines she has. I knew her role was really small but in the theatre, everytime she appeared on screen, people would jump and clap. Her character became an iconic one now in Hindi movies. Now you think of sarees in films, you think of Sushmita. It was the first time she had worn a saree on screen.”
She continued, “Even now, I get calls from people that they just saw my film again. Now, it has become a cult movie. Then, I didn’t enjoy its success for a very long time.”
More Pages: Main Hoon Na Box Office Collection , Main Hoon Na Movie Review
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