Ever since the trailer of Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan-starrer Coolie No. 1 exploded on social media, fans have been taking a nostalgic trip to the 90s original. Inadvertently, as it happens with every remake, comparisons have been made between Varun-Sara, and Govinda and Karisma Kapoor (lead pair of the original Coolie No. 1) — both films have been directed by David Dhawan.
As the movie gears up for Christmas release, writer-director Rumi Jaffery, who wrote the original and the remake, is enthusiastically waiting for the digital release of Varun-Sara’s Coolie No. 1. Since the movie is set in modern times, ask Jaffery what cinematic liberties he took while writing the film, he says, “The first Coolie No. 1 released in 1995. Today, times have drastically changed — right from phone to cars, everything has changed. So the changes that we incorporated in the present Coolie No. 1 were need of the times.”
Jaffrey was pretty hands-on when it came to the shooting of the film. He was present on the sets throughout the filming, making his presence felt. “Yes, I was mostly on the sets during the shooting of the film. I travelled all over — right from the location in Mumbai, Bangkok, and Thailand too, as we also had extempore changes on the sets.”
Jaffery’s association with David Dhawan goes back to many years, and their long-standing association until this day has been a smooth ride. Heaping praises on Dhawan senior, Jaffery says, “Dhawan sahab and I have done 20 films together. We have great tuning...we don’t have to break our heads when sit for discussion. In fact, we don’t even know when our films are written, completed, shot and released, as our working pattern is so amicable and smooth.”
Having worked with the filmmaker in so many movies, he has seen his actor son Varun Dhawan (who steps in Govinda’s shoes for the reboot) grow up to be a fine actor. “Varun is like my own kid... I’m emotionally attached to him. He is an exuberant, energetic performer, and a hard-working actor. He has grown up watching all these films made then. He has Govinda and Salman Khan in him along with his own persona, that is, being Varun Dhawan.”
Coming to another star kid, Sara Ali Khan (who takes Karisma’s place) and her performance in the film, he simply quips, “What can I say about Sara? She is a good girl, and a good performer. Being Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter, talent induced in her. Sara is camera-friendly and works very hard.”
Coolie No. 1 is all set to release digitally on Amazon Prime Video on Christmas. When it comes to movies releases, many Bollywood actors and filmmakers are quite particular about the dates (it’s even a ritual of sorts). Over the years, it has so happened that the three Khans (Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir) have marked their release date territory — Salman’s movies will come out on Eid, SRK during Diwali and Aamir at Christmas, most of the times. But now with David Dhawan taking up the Christmas date, does that mean it’ll be reserved for his movies?
Jaffrey laughs aloud and says, “I don’t believe that dates belong to a particular person — be it a director or an actor. And, so the Christmas date does not belong to Aamir either. It is Jesus Christ’s day. More so I would say it’s God’s blessings that he wishes to shower upon us, and God has showered this Christmas Day onto us. So here we are with Coolie No. 1.”
While all eyes are on the movie, Jaffrey is also gearing up for the release of another film — the Emraan Hashmi and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Chehere. “We have finished every sphere of filmmaking of Chehere. VFX work is being completed at Blitzkrieg speed.”
So will it be a digital release as is the trend these days, or will it take the theatre route? “I’m a creative guy so my job is to make a film. I have left the rest to the producers as they are the owners and investors as well. They need to decide whether Chehere should be a theatrical or OTT release. I am waiting patiently.”