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EXCLUSIVE! Director Anees Bazmee says creating comedy films is hard while talking about Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Filmmaker Anees Bazmee is a talent that has given Bollywood some of its most iconic films. Be it giving us butterflies with his romantic film ‘Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha’ or making us roll on the floor with laughter with his comedy ‘Welcome’, Anees Bazmee knows exactly what his audience wants.

This time, the director is coming up with Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, a sequel to the 2008 horror-comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Starring Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani and Tabu in main roles, the film trailer is surely creating a lot of expectations among horror-comedy lovers. Talking to First India Filmy, the filmmaker opened up about his upcoming movie, his experience working with Tabu, Kartik and Kiara, how hard the comedy genre is for makers and many more topics.


1. You are coming up with Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and the film has been creating a lot of buzzes. You are known for creating comedy films with original scripts. Why did you choose to direct a sequel this time?

There is a lot of goodwill associated with the first part of Bhool Bhulaiyaa. It is such an iconic movie and we were very excited to use the elements associated with it. We were excited about the fact that we can use two songs from the original one that we love so much, we will get to shoot at the iconic haveli, not the exact one, but one that looks exactly like the original haveli, we will get to use those ghungroos, then we will also get the iconic Rooh, Baba costume. We will get to use all this but with a new story, new concept and we were sure that the audience would love to see all these elements blended nicely.


2. Bhool Bhulaiyaa is considered a classic among horror-comedy lovers. Does that success weigh in on the makers when creating a sequel?

Bhool Bhulaiyaa was an iconic film and everyone, Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Shiney Ahuja, and Priyadarshan did such an amazing job. But the main thing is it was a psychological-horror thriller and the sequel is a pure horror-comedy. It contains real ghosts, unlike the original one. That’s a big difference. Many would complain that we did not take Akshay and instead cast someone else but we couldn’t have taken any of the original cast as the story is new and unrelated to the first one. No one can replace the original cast. This is not a replacement but a new beginning. Bhool Bhulaiyaa got its share of love, now I believe we should get our share.


3. How was your experience working with someone as talented as Tabu?

I have lost count of how many years it has been since I wanted to work with Tabu and she wanted to work with me. We know each other very well and meet regularly and we loved each other’s work. We always kept wishing to work together but never got the chance. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 gave us that opportunity and she was very excited when she read the script. It would be any director’s good luck to be able to work with someone as talented as Tabu. Her career experience made it easy for us to guide her. She could understand even the smallest detail with ease. You may have seen her in many films but if you see her work in this film, you will be amazed and surprised by the role that she has portrayed. It is very different from all her other roles.


4. Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani are some young and talented faces of Bollywood. What would you say about your time directing them?

Both are very talented, hardworking, focused and easygoing. Every morning they used to come on the set with this unmatched energy, with a goal in mind that they want to do this and that and so much more. Although I am used to working with such energetic young actors. They both have very positive energy to them.

When I started in this film industry, I was much more naïve and clueless than these young generation actors. They know what they want and what they are supposed to deliver. They have a planned working method and are focused on it which makes working with them very fun. They have done such a fabulous job. For example, in Kartik’s last shot in the end where he sings ‘Aame Je Tomar’. When you get to watch the film, you’ll get to know what it is about and you’ll find out that these are some acting chops that Kartik hadn’t tried before. I hope the audience enjoys seeing them act on screen as much as I enjoyed directing them.


5. What difficulties did you face during the process of creating this film?

Every filmmaker faces his own set of difficulties while making a movie. People have a lot of expectations from this film and that puts pressure on the makers to make the film as good as the fans and audience expect it to be. But expectations are good. It means that everyone is putting faith in the work. But the main difficulty we faced was the pandemic. We wanted to wrap up the filming in three to four months. But after 22 days of shooting, the pandemic induced lockdown hit and the movie was stretched for three years. If not for the lockdown, we would have completed the shooting on time as our shooting schedule was going at a very steady speed and without any delays or postpones.


6. The vision that you started this film with, did the result come out as you thought it would be?

To be honest, directors imagine their films in their heads a long time before they begin making them. Now in the director’s efforts to bring their imagination as it is on the screen, 200 more people are working on it. Sometimes you give someone a glimpse into what you want from a scene, how you want it to be, but not everyone perceives it the same way. Everyone takes it according to the way they can imagine it. It may be the same or sometimes very different from what you imagined. But when talking about this film, if I compare what I saw in my head and what I saw on screen, I am quite happy.


7. This is the first time we are seeing you dwell in the horror genre. Are we going to see more of this in your future films?

The genre has never been important to me. When I made Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha everyone told me that “you should make only romantic movies because that is your genre.” When I made Deewangi, a suspense thriller, everyone told me, “Suspense thriller is your genre”. When I made No Entry which is a comedy, everyone told me, “What rubbish were you making all these years? Comedy is your genre”. I have written 40-50 films myself and every time it is a new challenge which I love. When I came across Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, I was excited to try this genre. Every genre has its taking and style and that is the part that I love the most. I enjoy directing different genres. Here we have tried to experiment with scenes and tried to add jump scares and contemplated how much scarier it should be to scare away people. It was a fun process.

The experience I gained from listening to my grandmother tell me stories as a kid is that a horror story has a double impact when told at night and in a secluded place. So, I tried to use such tricks to play with people’s minds in my film.


7. Comedy films are an easy genre when it comes to watching them. They make you laugh and you leave the theatres after having a good time. But, is making comedy films as easy as they seem on screen?

After writing 50 comedy films, if you ask me even today what I want to write, my answer won’t be “comedy”. Because in other genres, I know a graph that I want to follow. In an action film, I’ll know where to add an action scene and what kind of action scene the audience would love. Comedy cannot be planned. Even if I come up with the thought that “there is a gangster who wants to marry his sister in a good family”, it would still be hard to make a complete story out of it.

I remember sitting alone on a swing in Khandala at around 3 in the morning thinking to myself as to how can I make a gangster look funny in the first instance. What came to my mind is the scene where he sells potatoes and onions in a full suit. Even the thought of it made me laugh and I thought, yes, this is it. This is how Welcome movie’s iconic “Aaloo Lelo, Kanda Lelo” scene was born.

But honestly, when making comedy, you don’t know if the audience will laugh at this instance or if they will find it funny. That is what makes the process harder. But when it comes to direction, getting the punch on time is a very easy job as all the actors I have worked with are extremely talented stars in this industry. They know what I want from a scene and they can make even the dullest lines funnier than it was written.

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