If Italian designer Roberto Cavalli with his penchant for animal prints were to marry a colourful Disney character, then their home would look something like the sets of ‘Lazy Lad’, the promotional song for upcoming Bollywood film ‘Ghanchakkar’.
tabloid! jetted down to Mumbai recently to witness first hand the making of the song featuring Bollywood’s pride Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi.
The moment we were ushered into the shooting studio, we immediately wished we could trade our passport in for a pair of sunglasses: The giant room, with industrial panelling, was dark except for the psychedelic living room on a stage. A peek inside revealed walls that were painted bright green. One side even had an illuminated sign that read ‘Baby’ and there was a yellow leopard dotted couch with matching curtains hung behind it. Silk cushions that had never been introduced to Martha Stewart, America’s queen of classy decor, were thrown carelessly on the animal-printed couch. A lamp shade with an orange fur cover, a well-lit fish tank with some bright-coloured fish and a white bird cage with bird-shaped wind chimes dotted the room. This was kitsch on adrenaline.
Naturally, the owners of that living room weren’t any less quirky. The moment Balan — wearing a shiny black top with embossed gigantic pink lips emblazoned on her bosom walked in with a pair of over-sized pink sunglasses perched on her head — her world began to make more sense to me. Her dress sense was as atrocious as her pad.
“I’m just loving this. It’s outrageous, isn’t it?” said Balan with a loud laugh.
In the comedy produced by UTV Motion Pictures and directed by Rajkumar Gupta of the dark ‘No One Killed Jessica’ fame, Balan plays a loud, garish Punjabi housewife Neetu Bhatia. It’s a tale of a couple who were ex-cons. They seemed reformed, but the big question is whether there’s more to them than meets the eye.
“We all know people around us who just take bling and outlandish to another level. They are not scared what to wear, they are not scared whether it’s right or wrong. They just do it. She may come across as quirky and mad, but she doesn’t care and that’s what makes her so enduring,” said Balan.
Her first shot for the morning seemed relatively simple. She enters the living room from a day of shopping, finds her husband Sanju (Hashmi) in slob mode watching brain-numbing television. She reprimands him song style and dunks the remote in the fish tank. It was a 52-second sequence, but it took over 90 minutes to nail that scene— which I am told was good timing.
“Everything you see today is exaggerated,” said Hashmi in his trailer van as he waited for his shot to be set up. “‘Lazy Lad’ is Vidya’s song and we are shooting it at a revamped, louder version of the house that we have shot the film in. I play the lazy lad in it and Vidya plays my wife. She wears the pants in our relationship.”
This is Hashmi’s second project with Balan after their 2011 blockbuster ‘The Dirty Picture’. In the award-winning film, in which Hashmi played an eccentric filmmaker Abraham, his tumultuous relationship with a bold actress named Silk played by Balan did not have a fairytale ending.
“In ‘The Dirty Picture’, we had a limited screen time for about 30 minutes. But there was a lot of chemistry. Many said that a happy ending between Abraham and Silk together would have been nice. Remember, we were hurling abuses at each other for most part. This time around, we are still hurling abuses at each other. But our marriage in ‘Ghanchakkar’ is different from what you have seen in films,” said Hashmi.
Everything about ‘Ghanchakkar’, releasing in the UAE on June 27, screams unconventional. For once, the Bollywood heroine is not perfectly sculpted and dolled up in tasteful designer creations. There are no pastel saris draped around waif-like bodies or immaculately styled hair in sight.
“The best part about Neetu is that is she is a full-bodied Punjabi woman. She believes she’s the best that the world has to offer. She’s proud about her cooking, her body and doesn’t stop at anything to get what she wants. I think every woman should be like her,” said Balan.
“She’s the kind of woman who goes through women’s magazines and cuts out pictures of clothes she likes. Then she will head to the market to buy similar fabrics and ask the tailor for her own interpretation of it. She has limited exposure but she doesn’t take that into account. She lives life on her own terms,” said Balan.
Her last sentence holds a mirror to Balan’s Bollywood career trajectory. In 2005, she made her debut with the romance ‘Parineeta’. In the period romance, she played a beautiful, coy lady who was in love with her neighbour. However, she didn’t get stuck in that traditional Bollywood heroine mould. In 2009, she came back with a bang in the acclaimed feature film ‘Paa’, where she played a mother to an ill child and topped up her account with hits such as ‘The Dirty Picture’ and the thriller ‘Kahaani’.
The going was mostly good, even though she had to battle criticisms regarding her weight and fashion choices. But Balan didn’t let any of the negatives bog her down and even went on to be a part of this year’s Cannes film festival jury joining the likes of Steven Spielberg and Nicole Kidman. The going has been particularly good on her personal front too. In December 2012, she married UTV Motion Pictures honcho Siddharth Roy Kapur and ‘Ghanchakkar’ will be her first major release after her marriage, if you discount the song cameos in ‘Bombay Talkies’.
“Nothing has changed much after marriage. Luckily for me, Siddharth is very supportive. He says there’s no need to be superhuman. He keeps telling me ‘Don’t go about doing this, that and the other. You are in the middle of the film, so just focus on that.’ So I am enjoying every minute of my work,” said Balan.
It was clear that Balan took her work seriously. In the four hours we spent together, she was constantly trying to improve her act. From re-takes to getting her Punjabi accent right in the song, Balan was game for pretty much anything.
“‘Lazy Lad’ is over-the-top and funny. But I am not taking it any less seriously because it’s comic video. I love rehearsals and re-takes because I am fully sure of what I am doing.”
FIVE MINUTES WITH... ‘Lazy Lad’ art director Sukant Panagrahi who has worked in blockbusters including ‘Chak De! India’.
Q: What was the brief given to you for ‘Lazy Lad’?
A: I was told that ‘Lazy Lad’ is going to be a naughty song. It has a Punjabi lady right in the midst of it all. So we wanted to make it as colourful as we could. Today, even television serials are going bold and colourful, we wanted to loud and bold colours to a whole new level.
Q: How long did you take to create this pad?
A: It took us four days to get the sets ready. But we did a lot of hunting for the stuff for the house. It was mostly sourced from Mumbai. You see that yellow couch, it was earlier a leather couch and we got it re-upholstered in leopard print fabric, We mixed old and new and our budget was around Rs1 million (Dh64,838)
“Ghanchakkar’ is a far cry from ‘The Dirty Picture’. This is the other end of the spectrum. For the first time, I am doing an all-out comedy,” said Balan.
DID YOU KNOW?
They say an actor spends most of his life in his trailer van and it’s almost a second home to them. It also gives us a peek into their personality. tabloid! discovered that Balan’s trailer van for ‘Lazy Lad’ shoot was feminine. The decor was cottage chic with floral motifs all over and done up in pastel shades. Balan even let us on in a secret.
“I am not much of a cook, but I make my own bed even today. Also, I like to arrange clothes in my wardrobe,” said Balan.
DON’T MISS IT:
The video for ‘Lazy Lad’ is out now. Ghanchakkar releases in the UAE on June 27