Hi, I am the maker of the Phir Mile Sur Video once again – here to continue writing my story at Vatsap.com. Those of you who missed the first part, can check out the post here. And now the rest…
Zakir bhai replied to my sms – ‘hey dude! long time! me in US. call me coz i have some really friggin story to tell ya’.
I called Zakir bhai and asked him what the ‘friggin story’ was. Three of his disciples had apparently quit him just when I had smsed. Zakir bhai explained – ‘they said they were fed up of my bobbing head and hair. Can you beat that? Theze American bastards! They didn’t even take away their tablas with them man! So I am like surrounded by four extra pair of tablas, feeling quite depressed and all that. Anyway, so what are you upto’?
I sympathized with Zakir bhai and assured him that back here in India, we were still as crazy for his bobbing head and curly hair as we had been since eternity. I told him we still remembered him every time we saw Saif advertising for the Taj tea. And then I informed Zakir bhai about my ongoing video-shoots. And then I asked him something.
I asked Zakir bhai if he could shoot himself playing all those extra tablas that his ex-disciples had left just then – all at the same time? And then send the clip to me?
‘Eight tablas at the same time? Have you gone nuts or something? Just because ‘My Name is (Zakir) Hussain’, does not mean I have the right to perform ridiculous stunts’.
I told him how I had already shot Rehman rubbing a red plate and if that could be bought by junta why not him beating eight tablas. He finally relented and agreed to my proposal. Of course, I reminded him not to forget to frantically sway his hair – not that it would have mattered whether or not I reminded him. When does one need to ‘remind’ a dog to keep it’s tail straight, haan? Silly me.
I soon received the video and when I saw it, I was left so totally speechless man! Zakir bhai had gone so totally overboard that he had ended up projecting a zoomed up live streaming video of himself behind him! To his bad luck (and mine), he could not say no to the two guys who had brought the projector and the video-cam respectively when they asked Zakir bhai if they could feature in the video as well. Now, that’s called value-ad! And value-ads sometimes do leave you speechless. I was left so speechless that I suddenly remembered few famous lines of an old poem:
And when my work shall be done in this world, O King of kings, alone and speechless shall I stand before thee face to face.
If only I had been face to face with Zakir bhai! Anyway. So I wondered whose lines were these and after some time, when I could not – I Googled – and oh my God – the lines had come out from none other than the great Rabindra Nath Tagore! At that very instant, I wanted to shoot Tagore in Kolkata. Since Tagore was dead, I started a search-hunt for someone Bengali who could at least look like him. My search ended with Prasenjit. I still wish he had listened to me and let my make-up men paint his beard and mustache white. Sigh! I consoled myself by thinking that even Tagore must have had black beard kabhi na kabhi. Chalta hai.
I was in Kolkata itself,when Shaan called me up to let me know that he had gotten a chance to see Shreya’s clip. For some crazy reason, he wanted to do exactly what Sherya had done – sit atop a running bus and sing his lines. I made it clear to him that since I didn’t find him as cute as Shreya Ghosal, he needed to something special for me, for me to agree to his request. Shaan thought for a while and then offered me a deal that I could not refuse. He promised to me that if I let him do the Shreya act, he could arrange for Rituparna – the queen of Kolkata – to wear the cliched Bengali costume (with the cliched red sari and bindi and all that) and stand in front of the cliched Howrah bridge to sing for my video. I have always had this weakness for cliche’s and therefore when Shaan offered this, there was no way I could turn it down. Both Shaan and I lived up to our respective promises.
After having wrapped up with Bengal, I was sitting at the Kolkata airport, waiting for my flight to Jaipur when I got a call from Mr. Hazarika. He asked me if I was planning to come down to Guwahati as well. I told him about my hectic shooting schedules. When the central government didn’t have the time to bother about the happenings of the NE, how was I supposed to find enough time, haan? I did tell him that if he could manage to record something and send over, I could use that in my video. When he didn’t sound too happy at this, I also offered to add some Guwahatish crimson sky in the background. I think he still felt bad but that was the best I could do man! It was only when I finally saw the clip that he sent later that I realized how deeply aggrieved he had been – the man was almost crying in the video man – crying! I shred few tears myself when I saw him cry.
Shilpa came to receive me at the Jaipur airport. She was wearing a pink sari. How hot! As we were driving down to the location, I wondered if there was a way out to depict on camera how hot she really was (without asking her to strip of course). And then a great idea struck me – how about showing rural Rajasthanis trying to capture all the heat flowing from the hot Shilpa, by surrounding her with huge thermal storage plates? Fuck man – I fell in love with the idea instantaneously! I felt so proud of myself man. And when I shared this concept with my queen of Rajasthan Royals, she readily agreed. That’s how I shot my most innovative (s)hot so far.
I very well knew what an innovative idea it was to have Shilpa circled with those thermal plates. But, in spite of that, I kept wondering if I should have asked Shilpa – at least once – whether she minded stripping in the first place. And then I thought of the only person who would never have minded that.
I found Salman Khan in a school, where an entire batch that had gone to watch a special preview of Veer had turned deaf & dumb by the time the movie had ended. We shot Salman in his banyan there as he made fun of the children by mocking them. He even tried eating one of them but then decided against that when some of the children told him – in sign language – that he was already looking slightly motu types.
After the shoot, Salman told us that he had a door ka rishtedaar in UP – Rashid Khan and it would be geat if we could go there and shoot him as well because Rashid apparently lived all alone in a huge huge white coloured Haweli that could accommodate at least 5,000 people and no one ever went to see him. So we went to Rashid and shot him. We shot him – in every corner of his haweli, and kept shooting for one full day. Later in the evening, he took us for a boat-ride in a river. While on the ride, one of my crew-members noticed a drum-set floating in the middle of the river. We wondered where that thing had come from. We were to discover that soon.
We liked the country side so much that we decided to stay for one more day. The next day, my crew and I went for trekking in a jungle. And guess who we found there? Apna taklu Shivamani! And guess what he was doing out there in the jungle – he was beating water with his drum-sticks! Seeing him do that, all of us started laughing like shit man. The poor guy had lost his drums and had been beating the water since the last 24 hours! That was so friggin hilarious. We shot him doing that and even today every time I think about that incident, I go nuts laughing.
The weird thing is, after few days, while I was in Bangalore, I got a call from Kavitha Krishnamurthy. She told me she had heard from someone that I was going around shooting musicians in the middle of jungles and all that and that it was quite an appreciated gesture. Appreciating gesture? WTF? Even before I could explain to her what had really happened in case of Shiva, she told me that she had seen Avatar 17 times with her family and could totally relate to my sentiments! Ah – so then I figured out where she was coming from.
She asked me if my team could shoot her family singing and playing violins in the middle of a jungle. This sounded too funny to be ignored and the very next morning, the shoot was concluded. The family left after the shoot while I and the rest of my team decided to hang around for some more time. There was a river in this jungle too and guess what we found floating this time – a pair of pajamas! Someone pointed at them and cracked a joke – ‘lol – hope it’s not Shiva’s again this time’. We all chuckled. Then someone took the darn wet thing out and commented – ‘it’s too tight for Shiva if you ask me’. One look at the cloth and you could tell that actually was true. We looked around to locate the owner if we could and then, when we did spot the owner – we all went like – fuucck! There she was – Deepika Padukone standing bottom-less in the middle of the river! How could we have left this gem of a scene from my video! We didn’t. Later, after the shoot, when we tried returning her pajama to her, she abused us for being hypocrites and walked off. Bottom-less. Funny girl.
More later guys. There is so much more to tell. God bless you all. Keep watching the video. In loops.