20 years of Mohabbatein: Farah Khan shares behind the screen stories

Aditya Chopra’s blockbuster romantic film Mohabbatein, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan completes its 20th year today and the film’s choreographer Farah Khan opened up about how she creatively captured the essence of this love story for ages through her dance routines.

“Prior to Mohabbatein, I had done exactly one song in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge which was Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane. It had become a huge hit. Then, I did Dil To Pagal Hai for YRF. Yash ji was directing. I got to do the love song Dholna and the mood song Bholi Si Surat. So, I was extremely thrilled when Adi told me that I was doing the whole of Mohabbatein, which was Adi’s second film after Dilwale, so it was a huge deal!” Farah reminisces. Mohabbatein marks the blockbuster on-screen jodi of SRK and Aishwarya and they were coming together as a romantic pair after they played siblings in Josh!

“It helped that Adi was very, very, very clear on what he wanted in every song. Every song had a screenplay. It was composed like that, with act one, act two, act three. He knew what would happen in the beginning of the song and the middle and at the end,” says Farah, who is now a supremely successful film-maker.

Farah reveals that the fact that Aishwarya was a figment of SRK’s imagination was kept a well-guarded secret! “We were not supposed to know, at that point, whether Aishwarya was Shah Rukh’s imagination or not. He would see her in places and she was the spirit behind the love stories. We shot in London. We shot in freezing cold nights with rain and we went to Switzerland to shoot two songs, Humko Humise Chura Lo, which I think is one of the best songs in the film, really beautifully done,” she says.

Farah reveals how the legendary film-maker Yash Chopra was assisting his son in Mohabbatein. “I know Yashji used to be there on all the songs, assisting Adi. Very sweetly he would be holding the fog machine and kind of put the fog at exactly the time it was needed. I’ve never seen someone physically do it, I know that was one time I couldn’t yell at the fog machine person because Yashji was doing it, and he was doing a rather good job with it. So, it’s one of my cherished memories and experiences working on Mohabbatein,” she reveals.

Farah fondly cherishes her creative association with Aditya Chopra. She says, “Adi of course, as I think everyone knows, is very, very organized. He used to make me feel guilty and I used to think I’m one of the most hardworking people there. In fact, even during lunchbreak, we would all be having lunch and Adi would be walking around thinking about how the next shot is going to be. I’ve never seen him take a lunchbreak.”

Farah reveals how SRK was a pro to pick up her choreography with utmost ease. “With Shahrukh I had done tons of movies by then. So, all these kids (Uday Chopra, Shamita Shetty, Jimmy Shergill, Preeti Jhangiani, Kim Sharma and Jugal Hansraj) would do two to three months of rehearsals. And then, Shah Rukh would come and he would learn it in like five minutes because he never comes for rehearsals and he would just learn the steps in five minutes, and that was the amazing part of it!”

About Aishwarya, Farah says, “Ash being a thorough professional, freezing in London, wearing a white lace saree, drenched, and she would not complain. Her and Shah Rukh’s chemistry is something else in the film and that whole poetry of Ek Ladki Thi Anjani Si I think that has become almost iconic because of how they did it.”

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