by Chaitanya Padukone
While there has been frequent speculation of casting conjectures as regards ‘which ‘A-List stars’ would be playing the main leads in the reinvented-remake of this cult classic rom-com Amitabh Bachchan-Hema Malini starrer ‘Satte Pe Satta’ (SPS) , to be directed by Farah Khan and produced by Rohit Shetty, veteran ‘showman’ director Raj N.Sippy of the 1982 mega-hit has never been contacted for his hypothetical lead casting preferred choices.
Speaking exclusively to CineBlitz, the outspoken ‘Daddu-jee’ (as Raj is known in film-circles) opened up, “Had he consented to play Amitabh Bachchan’s double roles of Ravi-and-more importantly Babu’s change-of-heart gripping character, in the proposed adaptation or remake of ‘SPS’, I feel Hrithik Roshan would have been a damn good bet. That’s because, Hrithik is a super-actor, dancer performer, as is evident in all his movies including ‘War’, ” insists veteran dynamic director Raj Sippy.
“But later on I have read that Hrithik was apparently unwilling to play the ‘SPS’ lead, the other top-star-hero options, that I feel could do justice to Bachchan-saab’s towering bade-bhai character are either Akshay Kumar or Ajay Devgn . If they wish to cast a much younger actor, then brilliant ‘live-wire’ talent Ranveer Singh, I feel would be an awesome choice. Frankly, I was fascinated with Ranveer’s negative-shades performance and actually ‘hated’ him on-screen as ‘Khilji’ in ‘Padmavat’. ‘’ Sippy adds
He further says, “since I have worked with Akshay in five movies including his debut-initial movie ‘Saugandh’ , I know he will do total justice to the demanding character. Similarly, Ajay with his versatile caliber and terrific box-office charisma as ‘Tanhaji’ is also a damn good choice, ‘’ shares the suave Sippy in his bass vibrant voice.
In that case, Raj Sippy also indicate his preferences for the female star artistes who should play Hema Malini’s role. Without even second thoughts, Sippy responds, “ If Anushka Sharma agrees to play the younger version bhabhi-character, it would be great. But personally I feel, the role requires a slightly mature persona with that ‘bhabhi-maa’ aura. Either super-talented Kajol or Vidya Balan could be damn good alternate options , provided they are willing, “ he smiles.
Has Sippy been kept updated on the ‘SPS’ remake developments from time-to-time ? With a shoulder-shrug he counters, “Frankly no! Over seven years ago, I had given away the rights of my movie ‘Satte Pe Satta’, to Ashtavinayak Cine Vision , which, as is known, subsequently has closed down. That was the distant past-juncture when even Sanjay Dutt was very keen to play Bachchan-saab’s double-role character and that’s how I had parted with the rights to Ashtavinayak . Later on, there were developments where even Salman Khan was toying with plans to step into the ‘SPS’ remake lead hero’s shoes and his brother Sohail Khan had even spoken to me. That too didn’t materialize. Thereafter, believe you-me, I have absolutely no clue, as to who currently officially holds the making rights,” grouses Sippy.
But wasn’t he even informed about the proposed remake. Reacts Raj, “Since the past two years or so, I have been getting to know mainly from the media-buzz or sometimes from outsiders that Hrithik Roshan was being approached and names of top-heroines who were being considered. Now, I hear that Hrithik is no longer keen on doing the ‘SPS’ remake. What I have not been able to figure out, is why this rumored project is taking so much time to materialise. But since I have read that producer Rohit Shetty and Farah Khan are expected to be jointly handling the remake, I know for sure it’s in safe hands. Both Rohit and Farah are technically brilliant and competent for this ‘SPS’ subject. They have my full support. Besides they have the great advantage of today’s hi-tech digital technology, which was not there when I made in the movie almost forty years ago.’’
He elaborates, “ Imagine, in 1981, with a combination of either 07 or even 14 characters on the sets, there was no ‘video-assist-monitor’, to check what footage had been canned. But then I had blind faith in my ace cinematographer Anwar Siraj,” insists the suave Sippy.
As is known, Satte Pe Satta, with its evergreen racy songs composed by genius R D Burman (Pancham-da) itself, had its basic flavor and certain scenes inspired by the Oscar-award winning American musical film ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers’ (1954). Adds ‘Daddu-jee’, “As far as music for the remake goes, I would strongly recommend the dynamic duo Ajay-Atul’s names. Their entire score for ‘Agneepath’ (2012), especially that soul-stirring Sonu Nigam track which goes ‘ Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin’ is the best testimony that proves their brilliant potential,” insists Sippy. Had Raj Sippy who has directed over 30 Bollywood movies in the past, ever given a thought to direct a contemporary remake of his own cult-classic movie. “No, never, I don’t wish to ever try making ‘SPS’ again. We never pre-planned ‘SPS’-1982, to be such a outstanding-benchmark-entertainer-movie, as they call it. It all just happened ! Thanks mainly to the excellent team-work by the fabulous cast and crew and great ‘hero writers’ like Kader Khan and screenplay by Jyoti Swaroop ( who directed the masterpiece-comedy ‘Padosan’). My humble salute to all of them,” he signs off.
( The writer Chaitanya Padukone is a senior entertainment journalist and author of memoirs book R D BurMania )
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