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Saif's Awkward Kiss With Rani...

By SUBHASH K JHA
May 30, 2024 15:00 IST
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'Our producer Adi Chopra really wanted a proper kiss in the film...'
'But Rani was not comfortable. She said, yes, but was so awkward and conscious!'

IMAGE: Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan in Hum Tum.

Hum Tum completes 20 years this week and Saif Ali Khan recalls his awkward kiss with Rani Mukerji, his conflicts with the film's director Kunal Kohli and why Hum Tum is so special to him.

Saif still cannot get over the kiss with Rani. "Our producer Adi Chopra really wanted a proper kiss in the film. I was doing the kind of films where romance had to modernised and internationalised and a good romantic kiss was imperative!!!

"But Rani was not comfortable. She said, yes, but was so awkward and conscious! I still laugh about that. She told me, 'Don't do it!! Please!' It was quite an awkward kiss. But we did it. I think that was a first too.

 

IMAGE: Rani and Saif's awkward kiss in Hum Tum.

Hum Tum was Saif's first film as a lead actor. "I felt equipped to handle the lead role after working with Shah Rukh Khan in Kal Ho Na Ho. I was growing and learning. Adi gave me this big break after Karan Johar told him I'm ready and offered to show Adi scenes from Kal Ho Na Ho.

"When I saw myself on screen in Hum Tum I was happy that I looked like a new actor. I had managed a re-invention... This was my first solo hit film, and it set up the rest of my career.

"It will always remain my most special film. That's why I'm talking about it. Otherwise a film reaches 10, 12, 20 years, but I don't feel the need to reminisce about them."

IMAGE: Rani and Saif in Hum Tum.

Saif reveals he was the third choice for Hum Tum. "I think Hrithik Roshan and Vivek Oberoi had both turned it down. Adi Chopra told me to find a way to reinvent myself to fit the mould for a new, emerging. Hindi film audience: The multiplex crowd.

"He told me it's the newest kind of film he is trying to make, a film with no real drama, no fighting or crying, just conversations over time. The trick for me was to play juvenile and fun as well as mature and sorted. Conversations with the same girl, ranging from 19 to 35!"

IMAGE: Rani and Saif in Hum Tum.

Initially, Saif says he didn't get along with Director Kunal Kohli. "I got the feeling the director didn't love the idea of having me on. I wasn't really friends with Rani either. It wasn't a comfortable set-up in that sense. But I was always comfortable in Yashraj Films. So we dived into it .

"The shoot was completely in Amsterdam. Forty five days. It was challenging to only focus on fitness and diet, but I did .. and managed to not smoke or drink .. mostly (chuckles). Siddharth Anand was assistant director ... and all of us used to fight with Kunal Kohli over something or the other! Usually the treatment of scenes.

"Finally Kunal and I had a blow up where he said he never wanted me as the actor and I said I would rather Adi Chopra was directing! Rishi Kapoor, who played my dad in the film, was amazed at the tension between us."

IMAGE: Rani and Saif in Hum Tum.

"But after we said all that, Kunal and I had a big laugh and said, 'Well now we are in this boat together ... so let's make it sail the best we can.' And we did. We also got along really well after that.

"Kunal explained to me that he wanted a film with no cliches. Everything that happens is contrary to what happens in most films normally... Boy meets girl... but they separate... she gets married... her husband dies... they meet again... etc etc. Not run-of-the-mill.

"The biggest challenge was making the film hold through just conversations. I asked Kunal to do a scene in one shot once, because the talking was natural and engaging.

"Rani and I both riffed off each other's energy and it was magic doing those scenes with her. Without her incredible talent and intelligence as a performer Hum Tum would have fallen flat."

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SUBHASH K JHA
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