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|July 18, 2001||
A storm is brewing -- and it is not completely nature provoked.
We are at Mukesh Mills, one of the film industry's hottest shooting spots.
The mill which is lying abandoned these days, is largely used for either climax sequences or song sequences with slightly offbeat backdrop. At the moment, a film unit is busy preparing itself for the final shots of the evening.
There is a slow rumble of thunder. It looks like it might rain soon.
Director Sanjay Khanna is anxious to can the shots quickly before the downpour.
The film is Ittefaq. Sunil Shetty and Anupama Verma are prepared to embark on a tricky shot. There are 20 dancers on the sets and co-ordination is tough.
This is the last of a four-day shoot.
"Quick, let's do the take Sunil, it just might rain again," says Sanjay, who completes a hat-trick of films with Sunil Shetty after Anth and Shastra.
Sunil, a competent but not really a terrific dancer, is practising his steps. On hearing Sanjay, he calls his makeup person over and dabs a tissue over his slightly perspiring face.
As Sanjay waits for the junior artistes and the main artistes to get ready for the shot, he talks about the film. "The film has music by Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen and lyrics by Sameer. It costars Mukul Dev and Pooja Batra along with Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor and Mohan Joshi.
"This film is important for me. I am selective and want to do a few films. So I can't afford to be complacent. I have another film on the floors starring Chandrachur Singh and Shamita Shetty called Junoon.
"Ittefaq, of course, will bring back action man Sunil Shetty. But we have taken care to have situational comedy and drama too, as Sunil has been established as an all-rounder. Watch out for Sunil's performance."
The film was earlier called Haadsa, and has been in the making for two-and-a-half years. The title was later changed to Ittefaq because people thought Haadsa was too negative.
Also, as the film depends on a series of coincidences, both the producers (Raj Laichandani and Asoo Nihalani) and Sanjay decided to go ahead with Ittefaq.
When asked about the delay and whether he thinks it will affect the film's success, producer Asoo Nihalani says, "The film has been delayed but it has been an experience -- a learning process -- and I will not repeat those mistakes. The most unfortunate thing was that we had Bharat Rangacharya for the film but he expired before the film started, so they had to wait to find another director. That too, cost us time.
"The film has gone over budget, but these things happen."
The film, according to industry pundits, has another negative. The pairing of Mukul Dev and Pooja Batra. Two years ago, they were more saleable than they are today.
Today, they will only add to the fact that it's a film that has taken a while to make. But as far as the makers are concerned, that is a non-issue because they feel the script is the film's biggest hero.
Sunil Shetty rehearses his steps with Anupama.
When he gets a moment to catch his breath, Sunil says, about the film, "It's a thriller. I play a cop disgusted with the system. When the law affects his personal life, he decides to take the law in to his own hands.
"I am hired to kill Mukul who has a disc with information about our country's defense system. Later I realise my folly and the story takes a huge turn.
"I see Pooja with Mukul and decide that although my love has been unsuccessful, I will help Mukul get his love. I hope I will be lucky a third time with Sanjay, as our first attempt Anth did well. Sanjay is a good technician and understands cinema," he affirms.
Sunil goes back for his shot. He keeps forgetting his steps. Finally, the shot is canned in three takes.
India News Feature Service
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