By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: For those who saw Abhishek Choubey’s Ishqiya three years ago, the film’s raw sexual energy between Vidya Balan and Arshad Warsi still remains vivid.
The news on the much-anticipated sequel Dedh Ishqiya is that Huma Qureshi who replaces Vidya Balan as Arshad Warsi’s co-star, goes “much further” with Arshad in Dedh Ishqiya.
According to a source close to the project, Huma and Arshad “have pulled out all stops” making Arshad’s love-making scenes in Ishqiya look like “a teaser trailer, and foreplay before the actual act.” That’s not all.
Madhuri Dixit, who makes a comeback in Bollywood with Dedh Ishqiya, has also done some intimate scenes with her co-star Naseeruddin Shah, and done them without inhibitions.
Says director Abhishek Choubey, “We shot their intimate romantic moments at the very beginning of the shooting. They’ve come out very beautifully. But let me state Madhuri’s character is very different from Vidya’s in Ishqiya. Madhuri plays a Begum who lives in a palace in Lucknow. Since this is again Ishqiya, we once again explore the various aspects of love and romance. What we discover in the relationship between Madhuriji and Naseer Saab is very different from the earlier relationsip between Vidya and Arshad. While Vidya’s intimate scenes were earthy and raw, Madhuriji’s amorous moments with Naseer Saab are approached with a lot of dignity. Madhuriji understood what was required. Once she accepted the scenes, she gave all of herself to them. However there are more intimate scenes between Huma and Arshad than between Madhuriji and Naseerji. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to shoot intimate scenes with our actors .They have to trust in the director’s vision. As the director I had to make sure I didn’t let Madhuriji and the other actors down.”
Director Abhishek Choubey can’t get over the experience of working with Madhuri. “It was an honour to work with somebody of her calibre. Bahot hi mazedaar raha experience with her. Getting Madhuriji was the best thing that could’ve happened to the film. I feel she has all the emotions within her. It’s really up to the filmmaker to pull out the emotions he wants in her character and she gives a pitch-perfect performance.”
Abhishek lets out that the script was actually written to accommodate Madhuri’s personality and skills. “What’s the point of having her in a film if there’s no dancing? We wove her dancing skills into the script. You see, when we decided Madhuri would play Beghum Para we wrote the character according to Madhuri’s personality.We incorporated the dancing .”
Shooting a semi-classical dance number Jaagi saari raina with Madhuri choreographed by the Kathak legend Birju Maharaj was the most enriching experiencing for Abhishek.
Abhishek wanted the number to be like Waheeda Rehman’s Piya tose naina lagi re in Guide.
Says the awestruck director, “I wanted Birju Maharaj-ji and Madhuriji to recreate what choreographer Hiralal and Waheedaji magic in Guide. We shot in a beautiful palace in Lucknow. I became this wide-eyed boy watching the two stalwarts at work. Birju Maharaj didn’t just come and choreograph Madhuri. He heard the narration of the entire script from me and then decided how he would shoot the song. He spent a week for the song recording with composer Vishal Bhardwaj and singer Rekha Bhardwaj. He also gave his inputs for the song composition. The number spells out a profound sense of nostalgia for a lost love.”
Choubey says he has created two kinds of world and languages in Dedh Ishqiya. “One is the world of Naseer Saab and Arshad’s characters being carried over from the first film. The other is the genteel aristocratic world of Madhuri that we introduce in this film.There is shaayari and mushaaira. But there’s also Arshad’s cruder expressions.”
Huma Qureshi plays Madhuri’s friend and confidante in Dedh Ishqiya.
Says the director, “Huma was very excited about working with Madhuri. She plays Madhuri’s kaneez (woman-Friday). Her scenes with Madhuri are very special. I was in a dilemma about the casting of this role since Kangna Ranaut opted out. I was uncertain about what would happen. I knew Huma from earlier when she worked in Ek Thi Daayan where I was a co-producer. So we are friends. Ultimately Huma turned out to be the right choice and I haven’t stopped congratulating myself for choosing her. In many ways Huma’s is the most complex character in Dedh Ishqiya.”
Naseer has confessed he is Madhuri’s fan. And Abhishek Choubey tells us the actor was in a exceptionally good mood. “Naseer Saab plays a very romantic character and he was very pleased to be romancing Madhuri.”
Speaking on the eve of the last 9 days of shooting director Abhishek Choubey said, “I’ve been shooting Dedh Ishqiya since March . We had a long schedule in Lucknow. Now only the climax remains to be shot.”
The film is expected to release in January 2014. Ishqiya too had been released in January. “There are too many big films towards the end of this year. So we’re safer early next year,” explains Choubey.
Next, Abhishek Choubey would direct an urbane story. “For some strange reason I am seen as small-town boy who understands the culture of semi-rural India better than the cities when the fact is I’ve spent more time in the cities. So my next film would be urbane.”