From essaying an intense part in ‘Malaal’ produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali to showcasing his comedic side in Priyadarshan-directed ‘Hungama 2’, it has been a complete change of experience for actor Meezaan Jaffrey.
The sequel to the 2003 cult comedy film ‘Hungama’ is releasing on July 23. The 2.0 version directed by Priyadarshan also features Pranitha Subhash, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav, Shilpa Shetty, Johnny Lever, in lead roles.
In an exclusive interview with Outlook’s Eshita Bhargava, Meezaan informs that the audience has just got a glimpse into the mad world of ‘Hungama 2’ and the film has a lot more to offer. Excerpts:
Tell me something about your character and what is happening in the film?
My character Akash Kapoor comes from a well-to-do family and he has his own business. He has just got engaged but suddenly a girl comes to his doorstep with a kid and claims that he is the father. Now in the film, he is trying to prove that the kid is not his. Whatever Akash is trying to do to fix things, it backfires and he is all over the
place. He is stressed, and going crazy in the film.
How did Hungama happen to you?
It was quite random. I got a call for the film and I didn’t think twice after knowing it’s a Priyadarshan film. Getting such a film in the initial years of my career was huge for me. I am a fan of his movies. He asked me to meet Ratan Jain, the producer of the film. He offered me the movie and then I heard the narration. Priyadarshan Ji met me a week later and said that he loved ‘Malaal’ and want me to do ‘Hungama 2’. I feel lucky and blessed to have worked with him.
How was it dancing with Shilpa? Given that she is an amazing dancer. Have you inherited those flawless dancing skills from Javed Jaffrey?
The fact that people are appreciating my dance, I think I’ve got it from my father. It’s an honour to work with Shilpa Shetty and on top of that on an iconic song ‘Chura Ke Dil Mera’. It was a blast working with her. She is full of life and she brought out the best in me. The original song is one year older than me and I had never thought that I would be cast in the remake of the song.
Have you watched the ‘Hungama’ original? It had set some high standards. Were you scared or excited to do the film?
Yes, I have and I was eight-year-old then. It has set a benchmark and people have high expectations and I have tried to live up to it. Priyan sir quizzed me on his films. I know every single dialogue, scene of most of his films. The first thing I was told was that ‘Hungama 2’ is not a remake, it has nothing to do with the original one. Saying that I understand that there’s an added responsibility because the title is the same. I am confident with what I have to offer and trust my capabilities. When Priyan sir saw the film and he complimented me and that’s the only validation I need. It’s his baby and if he sees the character coming to life, my job is done.
And how did you prepare for it? Does comedy come naturally to you?
I guess, yes. My grandfather and my father, both have done some amazing work. This is the first time that I am doing a comedy film and I’ll leave it to the audience to comment on it. I just followed what Priyan sir asked me to do. He did a lot of improvisations on the sets and it was so much fun. It taught me how to be a completely free actor. For me to be able to do those things and pull it off is also because of my father and grandfather and I am super blessed to have that school of learning while growing up. I am waiting for people to watch the film now.
How different or similar was the Priyadarshan’s world of cinema as compared to that of Sanjay Leela Bhansali?
Sanjay sir has a completely different style of working and he makes a different kind of films as well. He shoots two shots in the day because he takes so much time in detailing characters, sets, and everything. There were a lot of workshops for ‘Malaal’. But, Priyan sir allows the actors to have fun and ‘Masti on the sets and that translates into cult movies. He had asked me to just show up on the sets and enjoy. Through the shoot, I realised that one should not overthink the sets of his films. He wraps up before 5 pm. You just have to follow Priyan sir’s directions.
Meezan, were you ever worried about the comparison that usually happens when you are from a family of well-established actors?
I knew about it and I understand that people have expectations. But I don’t let this bother me because I have my own identity. I am not trying to replicate anyone. I know that people will feel the same about this film.
Any Behind the scenes fun moments?
We shot the title track but later Priyan Ji decided that we should add few scenes from the film in it. So, while shooting the climax scene of the film, Priyan Ji called Johnny sir and Rajpal Ji and I got an opportunity to randomly improvise and dance with them. I think that for me was the best. I enjoyed it so much. They are phenomenal actors.
Have you ever been in such a situation in life? Like that of the film?
Never! My dad will throw me out (laughs)…
Do you think OTT platforms are a game-changer?
OTT has done wonders… especially for actors. They are getting a platform to showcase their talent. We have started experimenting a lot, story-telling is evolving with time. I am super happy and I am waiting to get the right script for some show on OTT. I have always been a fan of going to theatres and watching a film. I also believe that community experience is not going anywhere.