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The cast of Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle reveal how comedy is one of the toughest genres in Bollywood

The cast of Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle Krushna Abhishek, Nazia Hussain and Mukul Dev – talk to Team Box Office India about their upcoming film

Box Office India (BOI): How did this film come your way?

Krushna Abhishek (KA): I was in Los Angeles for a show, when I received a message from Vinod Tiwari. The message also said so-and-so was my producer, we are planning to make a film and we want to meet you for this. I said I would call them back after I returned to India. After I returned, I got busy with my show and thought I would reply later. After a few days, I got to know that the director, Mr Tiwari, was in my house only, not to meet me but to meet Govinda. This film was first offered to Govindaji, and he gave them his dates after eight months but these people were in hurry as their subject was ready and they wanted it to go on the floors immediately. So, they messaged me again, saying they wanted to meet me. I was, like, okay fine, I will meet them. Later, I got to know – and mama (Govinda) also told me – that this was the same film he had been offered. I heard the script and I liked the subject and that’s how I came on board.

Nazia Hussain (NH): Mr Tiwari and asked me to come to the office for a narration. After I went there, they told me the story and said that Krushna was doing the film and that Mukul was also in the movie. They gave me the idea about the script and I heard the song. It was lovely and I wanted to get on board. So I was like, let’s do this and they had a contract ready (Laughs). It all happened very quickly and I took 10 minutes to think about it. Usually, things don’t happen so quickly but these guys were all sorted with their paperwork. It literally happened overnight.

KA: Yes, I agree. These guys are very quick. They narrated the story to me and asked me what I thought of it. I said it was very nice. They asked me aap karenge na ye role and I said, yes, I will. So they just took out a cheque book and gave me the signing amount. They asked hum Goa kab shooting kar sakte hain? I was like after two months, on 15th and they quickly noted down the date and gave me the cheque. I didn’t understand what was happening here.

Mukul Dev (MD): Mr Tiwari came to my house and he said, you are the only option for this role. We could never consider anyone else. You have to do this role and it has been written only for you. I read a few lines and scenes, and he explained some things to me. I knew he had a good product, especially with Krushna being in it. Also, it was a comedy, so I looked at it as a win-win situation as far as the screenplay, story and the film went. That’s how I got on board.

BOI: What was it like collaborating with Mr Tiwari?

MD: Since he is a new director, I wouldn’t say he is of the calibre of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is artistic by nature. They are born that way. Mr Tiwari is learning and looking to cut his own path. The good thing about him is that, for a director, he has to be a good captain to ‘x’ amount of people. What he did was he got some very good actors who were very different in nature, in their style of acting, and in their body of work, and he put them together in one movie. He also gave us the freedom to improvise the scenes by saying these are only guidelines and you are free to improvise as you want. I think that’s how comedy should be made.

KA: When I first met Mr Tiwari, I thought he was a little irritating because he is very loud (Laughs). My relationship with him has gradually improved. It is not necessary for every actor to say ‘I had a good rapport with my director.’ As and when I got to know him more, I realised he was a lovely person. But he is very loud; he is a character. I even role-play him some time. (Laughs). Overall, I loved working with him as he is very sorted and gave us the liberty to act on our own. That was the best thing about him. We are very happy with the final outcome of the movie.

BOI: As Mukul said, he deliberately chose actors from different backgrounds. How was the dynamic on the set among you all?

MD: Very nice. I mean, one doesn’t have to always end up liking each other. There could be an actor that nobody likes. Having said that, it was good between all of us.

NH: As it turned out, we were in sync with each other and, yes, he did get a very good cast together. It is very crucial for a film to be cast correctly and, as Krushna said, he did give us a lot of liberty. Krushna obviously has a lot of experience with stand-up comedy and improvisation, and Mukul has been in the industry for such a long time, having done so many films and writing as well. So there was a lot of input these guys came with, and the collaboration that comes with their inputs teaches me a lot as someone who is just starting out and who is just doing her second and third film. I got to learn a lot from them. 

BOI: You said the dynamic on the set was very good. In a comedy film, where you have to get the comic timing right, does it help to feed off each other’s energy like that?

MD: Yes, we were most definitely lending our energy to each other. When you are shooting, there are a lot of other factors. You may not like the unit, you may or may not like the director, you may or may not like the producer. Having said and done all that, if you spot one or two actors who are with you in the scene and you like the guy and he likes you, and when you know that there is a scene that needs to be executed, then at least that part is taken care of. There is Krushna, there is Nazia, there is Rajniesh (Duggall) in the film. Rajniesh is a thorough gentleman.

KA: Rajniesh is a very simple and sweet guy. We have become very good friends. We all are friends. I knew Mukulji from before this film. I met Nazia during this shoot for the first time. We all do our own work on the set. Sometimes, you have to work with a person even if you do not like them. When that happens, your performance doesn’t shine.

MD: The director often had to cut a particular scene because, when Krushna used to mouth his lines, I used to burst into laughter. The punches that he brings to the table are fabulous. I genuinely enjoyed working with my co-actors.

BOI: It is said that comedy is one of the toughest genres to try. Do you think that is true?

KA: Comedy is really tough. People think it is easy to pull off a comedy scene. What looks very simple on screen is actually a very tough job. My maternal uncle Govinda has been doing such great films. He always says that comedy is something you are born with. You cannot learn it. There are no classes where they teach you comedy. You either have it or you don’t.

MD: I completely agree that you can’t learn comedy. You either have a funny bone or you don’t.

KA: Mukulji used to perform his comic scenes so subtly with a straight face. I am known for slapstick comedy. I learnt a lot from him.

MD: If you see humour in a particular line, then people will also see it. There are a few artistes who are very quiet in real life, but they have a very good sense of humour. When they read a line, they read it in a way that they find funny. As a result, people also find it funny.

BOI: Your film will be releasing very soon. What is your headspace right now? What are your expectations from the audience and your film?

MD: I have a feeling that the audience is going to love this film. It is one of those time-pass entertainers. This film is like an underdog that will suddenly emerge as a surprise package.

KA: The content is really good. When you are dubbing for a film, you know what you have done. The best part is that we are very clear. People often present their films as a classy film that is worthy of going to the Oscars. We know this is not an Oscar film, but a bhaskar film. It is a slapstick comedy. It is a 2-hour film. Watch it with your family. You are sure to have a good time. ur film is  releasing with Soorma, which is a very classy film. Ours is a very massy film.

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