Farah’s four-fold excitement


After Shah Rukh Khan saw the final print of Om Shanti Om, he was so impressed that he gave Farah Khan a Mercedes Benz.

By Abdulla Mahmood, Gulf News Report
Published: November 13, 2007, 00:24

Farah Khan caught the audience’s imagination with her impressive choreography for the Pehla Nasha track from 1992′s Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander.

Since then she has gone from strength to strength to become Bollywood’s undisputed choreographer.

She became a director with Shah Rukh Khan’s Main Hoon Na. The film was a blockbuster and fetched her a Filmfare best director nomination, a first for a female director.

Now she is back as a director with Om Shanti Om, and collaborating with Shah Rukh once again.

In conversation with Farah Khan:

Why did you decide to make Om Shanti Om?

I knew that I always wanted to make another Bollywood masala film after Main Hoon Na, as such films appeal to me. I thought of the idea of reincarnation with the film industry as a background. I have always loved the ’70s era and found the idea of one half of the story set in the ’70s and the other half set in 2000s very exciting. When I shared the concept, Shah Rukh immediately liked it and we decided to go ahead with it.

What was the most challenging part of making Om Shanti Om?

I think the fact that the first half of the film is set in the ’70s and we needed all our stars to have the ’70s look with
hairstyles, body language and costumes. In addition, we also had to get at least 200 extras dressed in ’70s attire, which was a huge task in itself. We decided to put up an entire ’70s-style set which later had to be burnt and re-done as per our
script requirement. I had to treat the first half like a period film and it took a lot of effort from the entire team.

Is your film based on Subhash Ghai’s Karz?

No, the film is not a remake of Karz, not even close to it except for the fact that both films deal with reincarnation. My
story is about Om, who is a junior artist (extra) in the ’70s and is reborn as Om, the superstar of the 2000s and falls in
love with Shanti. That is why it is called Om Shanti Om.

How did you convince Shah Rukh to go shirtless with six-pack abs in the film?

I was projecting Shah Rukh as a superstar and I wanted him to have a perfect physique and flaunt his body. Shah Rukh said that if I wanted him to appear shirtless then I had to give him three months minimum to work on his physique. All credit goes to Shah Rukh as he went on a strict diet and worked out to develop perfect six-pack abs. In fact, I wanted to project Shah Rukh as an item boy in the Dard-e-Disco number showing him flaunting his body and getting out of the water. Normally, this situation is associated with item girls in Bollywood, but I did exactly the opposite.

How did you come up with the popular track Dard-e-Disco?

I am told that there are two kinds of numbers that work very well in India. One is a disco and dance number and the other is a sad, heart-broken number. So I suggested to Vishal-Shekhar (music directors) that they combine these potent elements. They came up with this great chart-busting track.

Why did you choose newcomer Deepika Padukone opposite Shah Rukh when you could have had any top actress playing the lead heroine?

I always wanted a newcomer to play the lead as once you have a known face like Aishwarya Rai, Preity Zinta or Rani Mukherjee, the audience tends to identify with their present-day image even though their characters are depicted in the ’70s. Therefore, I wanted a fresh face who could also carry the grace and poise of a big Southern star, similar to Hema Malini during the ’70s and at the same time have her own identity when the film is set in the 2000s. I found Deepika the ideal choice for this role and she has done complete justice to it.

Finally, what was the excitement like during the film’s release, considering that you are also pregnant?

My excitement was four-fold as I am expecting to deliver triplets besides delivering Om Shanti Om at the box

Did you know?

Farah Khan’s dancing skills and expertise were used in international projects such as Monsoon Wedding, Bombay Dreams and Vanity Fair. She also has the credit of choreographing Shakira in a Bollywood version Hips Don’t Lie at last year’s MTV Music
Video Awards.

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