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Why Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Aamir weren't part of Om Shanti Om

On the 10th anniversary of the film, Farah Khan goes down memory lane and shares some interesting anecdotes and funny bits on the film's making.

Our Correspondent

Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om (2007) recently completed 10 years. The Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Arjun Rampal starrer became the biggest blockbuster in Hindi cinema at the time. Farah in a recent interview, got nostalgic while talking about the film in a chat with veteran film journalist Anupama Chopra. 

Not many know that Farah had written the idea of the film on a paper and then left it in a book and it is was her husband, Shirish Kunder, who reminded her. “I luckily found it and within two weeks, I had the full script ready. Not the dialogue version. It was the easiest script I have ever written, because it came from a place I know so well. After that, nothing has come that easy to me. This was just from the heart and the quirkiness and madness,” she said. 

Padukone, who made her debut with the film, was applauded for her performance. “I saw her like a silent movie. She looked beautiful. She had an old world charm about her, which I found in none of the girls then. I don’t think any of the girls have it now. It was just a poise. She was Hema ji; today’s Hema ji. Which is why the Dreamy Girl came also. That was a later (addition) after I cast her,” Farah said.

However, Farah wasn’t happy with her diction and dialogue delivery. Hence, she used a few techniques to hide them. “We got her dubbed very cleverly. (It was) selective dubbing and we also got somebody who is not dubbing for everybody else. I actually did a screen test for dubbing artists,” revealed the filmmaker. 

The title song of Om Shanti Om, 'Deewangi Deewangi' which featured a number of filmstars, became an iconic song. During the interview, Farah shared quite a few anecdotes around the track.

According to her, she also wanted Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu in it. “Shah Rukh said, I will bring Dilip saab and Saira ji. I am still waiting for him to come to shoot for the song. Everyday I would ask where are they. (He would say) I will go to their house and pick them up. On the sixth day, I said I can’t extend the set any more,” she said. 

It was Farah’s dream to have Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir together on the big screen for this song. But Aamir refused. "Aamir gave me a long speech on how he was editing Taare Zameen Par (2007) and said that if he comes for this one hour, his movie will be delayed by three months or something.” But that wasn’t the actual reason, though. “I met him lately and he said, ‘I didn’t want to come',” said Farah. 

Actor Dev Anand too was invited, but he refused citing an unexpected reason. “He said, I don’t do cameos. So, I was like, yes sir, okay, thank you. Hat’s off to him,” said Farah.  

There were also others who couldn’t be a part. “Fardeen (Khan) got arrested at Dubai airport. He was coming to shoot for us. I think Aishwarya and Abhishek were getting married exactly that week, when we were shooting the song,” she added. 

The celebrities who participated, won some big perks for their cameos: “They all got to take their clothes home, along with a very big gift hamper. Shah Rukh had a fancy for the Tag Huer watch and a blackberry phone,” revealed Farah. 

She also revealed how Arjun Rampal was cast under dramatic circumstances. “Shah Rukh and I took him to the toilet at the new year’s party. We were like, we are shooting in five days. Come, come, do the movie. He said, 'tomorrow nobody will get up. So on 2nd come and narrate the story to me',” Farah said.

But there was more drama in store. “On the 3rd, he called saying 'I can’t do this movie'. This character is too villainous. We were like, oh my God. We were starting the shoot on the 6th or 7th. Shah Rukh again called and convinced him.”

Om Shanti Om had clashed with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya at the box office, and the two even indulged in a war of words. “Shah Rukh was very gung ho. Sanjay was very gung ho. And it really became bad. In fact, I feel if they had not released with us, we would have been the first movie in the history of Bollywood (Hindi cinema) to be Rs100 crore,” she recalled. 

Farah also candidly confessed that Om Shanti Om made her over-confident. “I became very over-confident. So, I made Tees Maar Khan (2010) after that. I thought I can do no wrong. So, maybe it did change me in a way. Maybe not in a good way. I became like, whatever I will do, will do well,” Farah confessed.

Watch the interview: