‘People remember each and every dialogue of Andaz Apna Apna, just as they remember every dialogue of Mughal-e-Azam and Sholay.’
As Andaz Apna Apna turns 29 on November 4, its Director Rajkumar Santoshi has only gratitude for the film’s appeal.
“Andaz Apna Apna is a movie that connects me with the children of today… who are born 20 years after the release of the film,” he tells Subhash K Jha.
“Its reach appeal and impact have been beyond anything I ever expected. I still remember when Producer Vinay Sinha had come to me with the idea of doing a film with Aamir Khan. Vinayji used to look after Aamir’s work. He convinced me to do the film with him through my stomach.”
“I remember he had brought the most delicious khana for me. He suggested we do something different with Aamir. I had just done two back-to-back serious films Ghayal and Damini. We decided, why not a comedy? Little did we know that AAA would turn out to be such a laugh riot during shooting and after release.”
It was decided that Santoshi would script a laughathon about two warring buddies, human avatars of Tom and Jerry.
After Aamir came on board, Santoshi brought Salman Khan into the picture.
“Both were very big stars by then. They had no problems working together. During the shooting, they became even better friends. There would be constant laughter on the sets. We would be rolling with laughter in the sets.”
“There was so much laughter that the cameraman would be quivering with hilarity while shooting the scenes. The camera would shake along with the cameraman. We had to stop the shooting and let the laughter subside,” he says.
Santoshi clears the misconception about a lot of the humour in AAA was improvised.
“Not at all! I don’t work that way. I direct my actors very closely. I work out all the scenes along with dialogues well in advance. There is very little room for improvisation. All the jokes and gags were worked out beforehand.”
People think Aamir and Salman decided to call themselves Amar and Prem to celebrate the movie Amar Prem. But their names had nothing to do with Shakti Samanta’s film. And Aamir exclamation ‘Aila!‘ and Salman’s ‘Oui Maa‘ were also my idea.”
Santoshi says he used to give cues to the actors from behind the camera.
“Even during that sequence where Salman is fed julaab (laxative) and his love confessions are repeatedly interrupted by his rumbling stomach, that gud-gud-gud sound to Salman’s dialogues was being given by me from behind the camera.”
“Salman didn’t know when and where the gud-gud-gud would be put by me. That added to the scene’s unpredictability.”
There were many firsts in AAA.
“I was doing comedy for the first time. Salman and Aamir came together for the first and so far only time. Paresh Rawal was a screen villain before AAA, we gave him a comic image. We revived the ‘Ajit-Robert’ jokes with Ajit’s son playing an Ajit carbon-copy.”
“Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor were brought together, and they exchanged their names. Raveena was named Karisma and vice versa. How were we to know the jokes would work so well? Comic writing depends on how much humour the writer can generate from the given situations.”
Curiously, Andaz Apna Apna got a lukewarm response from the audience when it released on November 4, 1994.
“It was very badly marketed and distributed. Nobody knew the film was coming. We got a below-average opening. But over the years, the film has acquired a cult status. People remember each and every dialogue of Andaz Apna Apna, just as they remember every dialogue of Mughal-e-Azam and Sholay.”
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