When Dharmendra Shot For Two Hrishikesh Mukherjee Films On Two Floors – Blast from the Past
Hrishikesh Mukherjee had a strange way of working and that impacted his films
Hrishikesh Mukherjee made films that are today considered classics. But if the truth be told, he was the most casual director on the sets who seemed more interested in playing chess between shots than the actual shooting. An actor who worked with him told me he asked him once what he had to wear for a scene, “Wear what you like. What you are wearing just now is fine,” the filmmaker replied barely looking up from his game of chess.
The casual attitude got a bit too casual when the excessively prolific Hrishida found himself shooting two films Chaitali and Chupke Chupke with the same hero Dharmendra in the lead on two floors of the same studio.
Chaitali which eventually flopped was a regret for its leading lady Saira Banu. A source close to the actress revealed to this writer, “It was a very powerful subject and Saira had one of her career’s best roles in it. It was also her first and only opportunity to work with Hrishida. Unfortunately he did not give the film the attention it deserved. He would do one shot of Chupke Chupke and then walk to the other floor to do the other shot of Chaitali. Dharmendra who was the leading man in both would do a shot with Saira in Chaitali change into another shirt, and do a shot with Sharmila Tagore for Chupke Chupke. Is this the way to make films?”
Chaitali got the brunt of its director’s over-work. It bombed while Chupke Chupke became a cult hit. Interestingly Sharmila was the original choice of leading lady in Chaitali as well. She did the mahurat shot and then backed out to make way for Saira.
A blessing in disguise. Imagine the same hero, heroine and director doing two films on two studio floors of the same studio!