Om Puri, Paresh Rawal had rivalry: Priyad

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Posted: 16 years ago
Priyadarshan has never felt happier. "Malaamal Weekly is my tribute to one of my favourite director Hrishikesh Mukherjee. I've always been a great fan of Hrishi-da.

"Hungama was a comedy of errors. Hera Pheri was a comedy of poverty. Hulchal was a family comedy. Garam Masala was a comedy targeted at youngsters. Now Malaamal Weekly is my first real Indian comedy. This is the first time I'm not doing a re-make. There isn't a bit of artificiality this time."

In his new film the prolific Priyadarshan not only pays a homage to Hrishikesh Mukherjee but also to novelist R.K. Narayan . "While making the film I had one clear visual picture—of novelist R.K. Narayan's fictional South Indian town Malgudi from Malgudi Days."

Luckily, art director Sabu Cyril constructed a whole set that lived up to Priyadarshan's vision. "He had earlier erected a village set for my Viraasat. This time he has an equally job on the outskirts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala."

Speaking about the two enormously talented leading men of the film Paresh Rawal and Om Puri Priyadrashan laughs, "They're like Pran and Ashok Kumar in Brij Sadanah's Victoria 203. Like Navin Nishchol and Saira Banu in Victoria 203 there's a romantic sub-plot with Riteish Deshmukh and Reema Sen. But I admit Paresh and Om are the heroes of Malaamal Weekly. And also full credit to Rajpal Yadav who's playing the villain."

After Akshay Kumar and John Abraham in Garam Masala it's Om and Paresh doing the Tom & Jerry act for Priyadarshan. "My job is made half -difficult when working with actors like Om and Paresh. I don't have to guide them."

The director admits there was a healthy rivalry between the two talented actors. "The rivalry was certainly there, and quite understandable. And we all laughed over it. There was a definite edge of competitiveness between Om and Paresh. It was very healthy but it was very very fierce.

One could see Om and Paresh's determination to out-do one another. But you know what? The maturity with which they handled their rivalry makes their togetherness on screen look very positive."

He stops to look at film's prospects. "I'm not bothered about the success or failure of Malaamal Weekly. I'm very sure I've made a very cute film. I've rarely felt so proud after completing a film. My earlier films took away from my sense of achievement because I had made them before. This time I'm not remaking my own film. It makes me feel very good."

Priyadarshan thinks people are in for a good time. "I'm hoping they'll laugh fully. Malaamal Weekly isn't a slapstick or a thriller. The comedy is treated in a realistic way. But yet it has all the ingredients of a commercial film. It all depends on how many people will come on the first day," Priyadarshan crosses his fingers about the lack of conventional stars at the helm of the film.

"Only word of mouth can help Malaamal Weekly. There's no Salman or Shah Rukh. And I hope my reputation helps."

Om Puri Paresh Rawal

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