Mumbai: There was a lot of chaos during the making of Kundan Shah’s cult classic “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” and it even led to fights between Naseeruddin Shah and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra, who wrote the story and screenplay of the 1983 film, said their team was hungry to prove a point.
“‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ was being made at a time when everyone was hungry, aspirational, angry and keen to prove a point. It was a fortunate amalgamation of a bunch of people who hated and loved each other simultaneously,” Mishra said in an interview. “Like, Naseer and Vinod (who was the production controller on the film) have the most complex relationship in the world. They can’t live with each other, can’t live without each other. I’ve seen them get into fist fights! I’ve come in between them and got hit too, really!,” he said.
Chopra quipped,”Ha, maara hai humne (we’ve hit each other).” The “Parinda” director said everyone on the sets was confused as to what exactly was being made, including Naseeruddin. “Naseer used to ask for motivation from Kundan. Kundan was like ‘What motivation?’ I told Naseer, ‘Your motivation is the money you’re getting, now do it!'” Chopra said.
Recalling one of the iconic scenes, when Naseeruddin and Satish Kaushik’s characters talk to each other on phone in the same room, Mishra said it was a real-life funny situation. “In that scene, Naseer is hitting his head on the wall. He shouts, ‘Why is the phone not falling?!’ and then he walked off. Kundan was like please stop him. I told Naseer, ‘tu girayega tabhi toh girega phone! (You will have to make it fall) Mishra said.
“Despite everything, he (Naseer) stood there and did the entire film. Which is what I am saying is amazing,” Chopra added. In the film, Naseeruddin’s character was named ‘Vinod Chopra’ while Ravi Baswani was called ‘Sudhir Mishra’. “It was all just an inside joke by these writers. Nothing was serious,” Mishra said about the names.
Chopra said, “Bhakti Bharwe had a production problem because I would not give any money. So she would kick Naseer and say ‘Vinod Chopra!’ This was the back story.” Kaushik, who wrote dialogues for the film, said a film like this can never be remade but if it were to release today, it may land in trouble.
Mishra said, “Sometimes things just get made when there are a bunch of people guided by a madcap who has the great feel for the underdog and is almost naive.” There were many such stories which Shah had with him but the films never got made. “I remember our sessions at his place in Bandra, he had a bunch of people coming, everyone putting in ideas. There are some scripts which must be still with him. ‘Sasha the lost prince’ was one of them. It was a genre which later Spielberg did,” Kaushik said.
“I found one full script of his at my place, where two girls in the mountains turn killers,” Mishra said. Chopra said, “Oh, please send them to me! I have been looking for it ever since.” Shah passed away recently aged 69. The cast and crew united to pay him and Om Puri a tribute at the ongoing JIO MAMI 19th Mumbai film Festival.