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|December 16, 1999||
'We want to make nice films'
Juhi Chawla's come a long way from the proverbial girl-next-door of Sultanat and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. Today, with Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, this popular actress dons the mantle of producer. PBDHH marks the debut of Dreamz Unlimited, the production company started by Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Aziz Mirza. She spoke to Sukanya Verma about her new role.
When did you decide to get into film production? Why did you specifically decide to team up with Shahrukh Khan and Aziz Mirza?
It was actually just like that (giggles). This was actually Azizji's idea and I think it happened after the two films he made with Shahrukh and me -- Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Yes Boss.
Azizji was looking for a good script and generally wondering who would produce his next film. He has some experience with production -- he has done television serials like Nukkad, Manoranjan and Circus and even produced one of them; I don't know which one though.
But he was into production. This time round, he thought he would produce a film. And a day or so later, he thought he would like me and Shahrukh to be a part of the team as well. Although I have no idea or background for production I was quite happy when I heard of his idea.
I have worked with both Azizji and Shahrukh over the years. I genuinely like them as people and admire and respect them. This whole thing took place so casually that one did not realise it was actually happening; that it was going to be a major responsibility.
But you had tried your hand at television software production earlier. What happened to that?
About four-five years ago, my family thought of getting into television production, now I even forget the name of the company… Of course, it had something to do with my name. We started off, but then my mom passed away and we lost heart and did not go ahead with it. That was the only foray I had made into production. When one is taking on film production, though, one is asking for a lot of work and responsibility.
How involved are you in your role as a producer? How do you see your role evolving in the future?
Actually, a major part of the work was done by Shahrukh, Azizji and Yash Johar. Yashji has actually pitched in and helped us by handling the whole production. Since these guys took so much on themselves, I haven't felt the burden so much.
Now I see production with different eyes, I see so many technical aspects of a film that I was never aware of as an actress. In fact, I am learning now, learning about many more things and about new departments. I don't know how much I have managed to learn, but I like being a part of a creative team. I like participating when they are working on the script or on the story idea. When you are behind the scenes watching the action, it is fun to help out.
I don't know if I am helping much, though. I just jump up and say, "Wow! That was really good." I guess you learn as you grow, it doesn't happen overnight. But yes, we have managed to make our film, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and we are now wrapping up the shooting phase (smiles).
What will your next film as producer be?
We want to make nice films. But, right now, till its release, everyone is really completely focussed on Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. So much buzz over only one film (laughs). So, once it is over -- hopefully, if everything goes well -- there will surely be more films.
Has this film been personally financed or have you raised the finance from the market? How did you go about the process?
We sold the music rights of the film to Sony Music and the money that we got from that was invested in the production of the film. Then, the overseas rights were sold to Eros International, so they put in their money. That's how we financed the film. It was not really personal funds or anything of the sort.
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