Few weeks back we have posted about Sridevi's future films and one of them was Balki's project with Amitabh Bachchan. News about this project has resurfaced again in the media. Reports are suggesting that both Amitabh Bachchan & Sridevi have given their verbal agreement to do the film in the past. Nothing is confirmed though as Balki is currently busy with his film with Arjun Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. Sri & Big B's film should be expected to start anytime next year after the project is announced by Balki himself. Their last film Khuda Gawah in leading roles was an epic film and this one for sure is expected to be a grand one too.
Any actress would dream to work for Yash Chopra. Some would not even ask about their role or a script and would say yes immediately. Sridevi worked with him in Lamhe & Chandni. Two films that are considered to be the best of Yashji's career. We all know that Sridevi rejected many Yash Chopra's films after Lamhe.
Yashji wanted to launch his dream project with Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi in the lead in 1999. He wanted this film to be the comeback of Sridevi, but Sri rejected the film for unknown reasons. We have no idea why she rejected his film so many times. Even Amitabh Bachchan was very keen to do the film that he asked Amar Singh to speak with her and convince her to do it. but that didn't work too. Yash Chopra has asked Sri so many times for the same project, but Sri politely kept saying no to the film for 5 times in 5 different occasions. Finally Mr. Chopra had to cancel the whole project because he said that this role was made for Sridevi and he cannot imagine anybody else doing it.
All what we know about Sridevi's rejections in the past that she said if she is going to work again with Yash Chopra the film has to be in the caliber of Chandni & Lamhe. We think that Sridevi have taken the right decision with all the previous rejections, but for this project we have no idea but we still trust her decision. As for Yashji may his soul rest in peace he will be remembered for many years for his great work.
We all know that Puli is set to be released in 2015. The confirmed reports are suggesting that release date would be September 17th. At the moment different sources suggest that Sridevi has two Hindi film projects and one more South film in her kitty. So in total we should expect 4 films to be released for her in the future.
In Hindi there is her own home production Mother. Although the title is not 100% confirmed but we will call it that until there is an official announcement. Then there is another unannounced project of a film where Sridevi will be seen in the lead. Now will that be Balki's film project where Sridevi and Amitabh Bachchan paired together? could be possible and we think this pairing will be a very interesting one.
Then there is another South movie that Sridevi showed some interest in but did not sign or confirm it yet.
We have not included Mr. India 2 here because this has taken way long time than necessary. Although Boney Kapoor said many times that the script is being worked on but it is been taking an eternity.
So what we think that after Puli's release Sridevi's full concentration will be on her next Hindi film Mother. If all things go well Mother might get a release date either end of this year or early 2016.
of course we all know that Sridevi worked with Sanjay Dutt in one film that is Gumrah, but have you wondered before why they never worked in the 1980s? Sanjay Dutt was paired with many actresses from the 1980s be it Padmini Kolhapure, Anita Raj, Amrita Singh, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Madhuri Dixit, Mandakini, Jaya Prada, Farha, Sonam, Rati Agnihotri, Tina Munim & others but never with the No.1 actress of the 80s decade Sridevi?
Well, the answer is there and probably some of you know it. Maybe there are others who don't know about it hence we will explain as the story was told by Sanjay Dutt himself in one of his interviews to Filmfare magazine. Sridevi's side of story is unknown because she never talks about what happens behind the cameras.
The incident goes back to 1983 when Sridevi was shooting for Himmatwala. Those days as Sanjay said were not his best days and he was not proud of them. He was hooked on alcohol and drugs most of the time. A friend told him about this chand ka tukda girl (Sridevi) working with Jeetendra. Sanjay went to the sets to see this girl while he was very high! The shooting was outdoors and Sridevi was in her trailer. He knocked the door and Sridevi opened the door. Sanjay says he cannot remember exactly what he said and how he behaved but it was not a good moment and Sridevi was horrified and immediately shut the door. That was the first impression Sridevi got from him. A not good one. We don't know if there were movies they were offered together but what we know that if Sridevi was signed as the heroine of a film Sanjay Dutt would not be the hero!
In the end of 1980s when Sridevi was signed for Zameen, she was the first actor who signed the film before all the male actors of the film, Vinod Khanna, Sanjay Dutt & Rajnikanth. The film makers assured her that she will not be having scenes with Sanjay Dutt & that he is paired with Madhuri Dixit. So there was no problem. But that film got shelved due to problems and never saw the light!
After that there was the chance of working together in Khuda Gawah, a movie which Sridevi & Amitabh Bachchan signed in 1988. So many changes happened in the cast and crew of that film. Sanjay Dutt and Farha were casted but they walked out eventually and were replaced by Nagarjuna and Shilpa Shirodkar. Sridevi by that time did not mind working with Sanjay as this film was very important to her. Sanjay Dutt shot many scenes for the film but was very uncomfortable on the sets because of the Jumma Chumma (Hum) & Tamma Tamma (Thanedaar) controversy. Amitabh Bachchan was not happy that Bappi Lahiri copied his film tune and also claimed that he was the first that composed it. Even choreographer Saroj Khan was kicked out of the film due to her attitude problem and she was betting that Tamma Tamma was to be the bigger hit which did not happen. Amitabh and the film makers decided it would be best if she is out of the whole project. Later Saroj was brought back to choreograph one song after Sridevi insisted on having her back.
In this video you can see Amitabh Bachchan talking about the whole issue.
Many don't know that Jumma Chumma is originally an African song that Laxmikant Pyarelal composed specifically for Amitabh Bachchan & Sridevi's starrer Ram Ki Seeta Shyam Ki Geeta. Ramesh Sippy asked the music director to compose a grand and catchy song that suits the No.1 actor and the No.1 actress to be presented in the mahurat of the film. It is said that Amitabh & Sridevi even shot a portion of the song, but unfortunately the film got shelved. Luckily we have seen both the superstars dancing together to the song in their London concert.
Then the last chance was Mahesh Bhatt's Gumrah. Mahesh in one of his interviews denied that Sridevi ever asked him to change the hero of the film. He even said that he personally spoke to Sridevi and she clearly told him that she did not mind working with Sanjay Dutt. Gumrah was a wonderful film and all critics praised the on screen chemistry between Sridevi and Sanjay Dutt. Sajnay Dutt in another interview said that with Sridevi there was only Hi and Hello on the sets and no more communication. He said that even in the last chasing scene where he and Sridevi were holding hands and running when the director said stop Sri moved her hand away from him very fast. He said that she was probably thinking that he is still on drugs and that he does not blame her.
Sanjay Dutt is very fond of Sridevi. In one of his interviews again with Filmfare he put her together with his mom Nargis as the best actresses of India. He also chose her as the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the only Indian lady he chose when he was asked this. One of Sanjay Dutt's all time favorite Bollywood films is Sridevi's Chaalbaaz! So all this shows how much he is in awe of her.
Sridevi on her side was among the first who expressed her distress when Sanjay Dutt was arrested in the early 1990s she even joined with other actors to show her support for Sanajy Dutt. The below picture shows Sridevi standing beside Raveena Tandon and many others in support of her colleague.
Sridevi & Sanjay Dutt might never act together again, but their film together Gumrah is one beautiful film that has a repeated watching value for all the fans. Both gave their best and the film is still remembered after so many years.
Below you can watch another video explaining about the Jumma Chumma & Tamma Tamma controversy
We have added another interesting interview of Sridevi done for IndiaGlitz in 2012. The Empress here talks about her hiatus, grand comeback, Toronto Film Festival standing ovation and Amitabh Bachcha.
you can find it HERE
Now this picture is exclusive and never seen before on the net. This is from our archived magazines and we thought to share with you how Sridevi topped Filmfare magazine's list of Winners of 1987.
Filmfare wrote about Sridevi:
The Lady covered up her thighs but still she sold. Bumping and grinding her way through that blue-Saree dance in Mr. India, she oozed more sex than the half-clad Sonams and Kimi Katkars. The saving grace of so many also-rans of the year like Watan Ke Rakhwale in which she poured herself into a police inspector's uniform and the only silver lining in the gloomy Himmat Aur Mehanat. Sheeree Deveee (as sis Sheeeree Latha calls her) held on to her No,1 status without really having to bat her false eyelashes.
Sheeree also turned down offers opposite Mr. Bachchan, she played hard to get with Lata Mangeshkar for Lekin and was replaced by Dimple Kapadia, plus it's said that her momma demanded too much moolah for Shashi Kapoor's Ajooba, again Dimple was in. But does Sheeree care? Not really. Because she calls the shots, gets the money she (or her momma) demands and lives out of a suitcase in five-star hotels as long as the room service comes on the producer's expense.
Sridevi has always been on the top. If there is someone deserves to be called a Queen or an Empress in Bollywood then it is our Sridevi.
Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja was one of the most anticipated films in the 1980s because it had the team of Mr. India again. The film was launched at the Silver Jubilee success party of Mr. India in 1988. This was the second film with the same title. The first was starring Dev Anand & Waheeda Rehman.
Initially Shekhar Kapur agreed to direct the film but he then decided to leave the project. Satish Kaushik who was the assistant director of Mr. India stepped in and made his debut as a director with this film. The film started shooting in 1988. Some scenes and songs were shot. The movie was delayed so many times due to so many reasons. be it stars dates, reshooting some outdated scenes. lavish sets building etc. Even the opening credits of the film was very costly! It was at that time when Yash Chopra requested Boney Kapoor some of Sridevi's dates to be given in favor of his own film Chandni. Boney did not mind but again that added to the delay of the film.
Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja was at that time the costliest film ever made. Its budget has surpassed the Rs. 10 Crore & in our times that means over Rs. 100 Crore! Lots of efforts were put in lavish film sets and costumes, but unfortunately less in story building. The first half was fun to watch specially with Sridevi & Anil Kapoor competing each other in burglary, but in the second half the film started to feel rushed and lacking a solid story & dialogue.
The song Dushman Dil Ka Jo Hai Mere was shot in 1988 and it had a lavish setting. Sridevi was mind-blowing be it her dance, her look and her expressions, they were all something you expect from The Sridevi. Neeta Lulla has done all her costumes for the film and most of them were exquisite and grand. The premiere of the film itself was extraordinary and grand. It had many big names attending be it Amitabh Bachchan, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Rekha and many other stars. Trophies were given to the cast and crew of the film. Sridevi's trophy was given by none other than Rekha.
The film was released after a long delay in 1993 & opened to full houses but unfortunately could not sustain. The cost was too huge to recover. Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja's failure was due to its cost. If the film hadn't costed that much it would have definitely fared much better commercially. A film is usually considered a hit when its revenues are higher than its cost by a good margin. Some films that year were hit even though they made less money than Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja but they had the advantage of a much lower cost.
To the people who have the film on VHS they will notice that many of the outdated scenes and even some portions of the songs were chopped when the film came in DVD. All the DVDs released for the film from different companies lack some of the original footage. So if you have the VHS then keep it until a DVD that has the full content of the film is released which we doubt will happen.
Sridevi was the highlight of the film. Actually Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja has nothing else other than Sridevi be it her wonderful acting or superior dancing. She did the Madrasi comedy scene to perfection. The Japanese woman and so many other unforgettable avatars. The film has so many lovely moments that cannot be forgotten. At least this film to Sridevi fans will remain one of her carrier's many memorable films. Each one of us have his own reasons to like the film.
It is nice to see The Last Empress herself remembers the film today & tweets about it.
Below is the video of launching the film during the Silver Jubilee party of Mr. India in 1988.
& Lastly what the cast and crew of Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja say about the film
Khuda Gawah or God is My Witness was released in 1992. The film was in development since 1988 when Sridevi stopped signing films with Amitabh Bachchan. At the time of signing the film both Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi were the No.1s in Bollywood. When the film was released they both were the No,1s too, so it was like clash of the titans. The biggest actor with the biggest actress of the country in a film back together! There was even that one poster that was made as India's No.1 actor Amitabh Bachchan with India's No.1 actress Sridevi in a film together!. Their pairing was something very unique. The whole industry was looking forward to it.
Everything about the film was lavish, the costumes, the sets, the story etc... Amitabh Bachchan was always in the film. Sridevi was not though. Her dual characters were to be played by Dimple Kapadia and a newcomer related to Saira Banu. The producers then wanted to bring a star who could draw audiences to the theatre specially after Amitabh's late 80s films did not do well at the box office. Amitabh Bachchan too was very keen to have Sridevi in the film. He jumped to the idea when the filmmakers suggested her name. But the problem was how would they approach Sridevi with one of the roles! which one should they offer her? She cannot be Dimple's daughter in the film. And the queen will not agree to do a role that has less footage and screen presence. The producers then decided to give Sridevi both the roles! That was one way they thought she would agree doing the film, specially after Dimple Kapdia asked for a price they did not want to pay. So they thought we will pay much more but will get a star who can draw audiences to the cinema.
Sridevi was given the script of the film and was told that she will be playing a double role. The Empress told the producers that she will read it and then give her answer. Of course she was the only actress who would ask this. Other actresses at that time would not even ask for the script if it is an Amitabh Bachchan film. Sridevi took sometime to give the answer. Both Amitabh and Mukul Anand were worried that she would reject the role the same way she rejected many Amitabh Bachchan films in the past. One day Amitji was given Sridevi's song from Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (Dushman Dil Ka Jo Hai Mere) to watch, He was so impressed by her dance in that song. It is known that when Amitabh likes a performance he would send the artist a bouquet of flowers. But what Amitji did to our Last Empress Sridevi was sending her a truck full of flowers!! Magazines came with covers that Amitabh Bachchan is trying to woo Sridevi. Filmfare magazine made a whole cover and story about it (We will post the whole story and pics at some other time). Of course they did not mean romantically but professionally. They said he wanted Sridevi to do the film with him!
When the producers asked Sridevi for her answer the queen said yes provided they stick to the script. And then Sridevi was in Khuda Gawah. Bagging a double role with Amitabh Bachchan. A record that no other actress ever had. And also not to forget her introduction scene, which is again not just the best any actress had with Amitabh Bachchan but can be ranked among the best intro scenes any heroine could get. Khuda Gawah got a very positive response from the critics and audiences. The film was the second highest grossing film at the box office in India in 1992. In the middle east and Arab countries the film was a huge hit. In Afghanistan the film is still hailed as the best bollywood film there and it has been dubbed in their own local languages!
In late 1993 the film was released in the US in a limited way. The response was very huge and then got a wider release in 1994. Late Gavin Smith stated that "God is My Witness is one of the ten best films of 1994" he meant internationally including both Hollywood and Bollywood. While Stephen Holden from New York Times said"Movies rarely offer more rip-roaring action per minute than does God is My Witness". Hopefully we will post their reviews in the review section and we will also talk more about Khuda Gawah some other time with more details. The below is the poster of the film that was released in the US.