Satisfaction is the name of the game when it comes to the long, yearly process of filmmaking. An art process, which cannot be handled single handily by a creator but ears and years of discussions with individuals, listening to opinions from the ink of a pen to the last cut on an edit table. Filmmaking is a process that can take years of preparation and hours of labouring creativity. A director is assigned to hold on to an opinion to a particular vision, leading a team of hundreds towards the direction of that vision, enlightening the visualisation on celluloid which took birth in the space of their subconscious.
Its natural for changes to happen during the course of filmmaking. These changes commonly take place for the benefit of improvement, or at times contrast in opinion. But is it always the director making those changes? Not always. The bankroller, the star or the studio backing the project can be also be held responsible for that change or tweak, where at times leaves a director in a position left muted.
In this article, we will go through those films that took drastic changes during its course of filmmaking. How the original concept or idea of the film, from paper that eventually took a transition during its journey of filmmaking, either for the better or for the worse. Handpicked are those films that have had a major alteration in the film’s narrative. These changes maybe it due to creative differences, sovereignty pressures or reasons best known to the makers themselves.
(Before starting, I would want to thank all my industry friends and colleagues for their help, inputs and excessive information towards the research for this article. Taking out the time for those hourly telephonic conversations and shaping this article literally within hours. Without mentioning names, as you most of you don’t want to be mentioned, big thanks and a huge salute!)
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)
Both nations, India and Pakistan were at long-heads with each other which followed with attacks on the neighbouring countries from the armed forces. These attacks, which initially were provoked through national issues later made an impact on the entertainment industry. Due to the attacks, Indian political parties had decided to blacklist Pakistani artists working in any form of creativity in India and any upcoming projects in India with Pakistani artists will go through alternate changes. Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil featured two Pakistani artists, Fawaad Khan and Imran Abbas. Johar’s vision was not of a political agenda at all; but a tale of one-sided love in where one of the two Pakistani stars plays an important character in the narrative.
Johar reasoned with the authorities that Fawaad Khan’s character could not be edited from the film entirely; as his character plays a major role in his feature but Johar had agreed on compromising with Imran Abbas’s cameo. There were rumours that Saif Ali Khan’s face would be pasted over Fawaad Khan’s face in the final edit, but this process would take weeks of studio after-effects and the film was at a nearby release date.
Johar thought of the plan to rewrite certain portions and change some elements on the editing table. The Pakistan portion was now based in Lucknow, Anushka Sharma’s wedding sequence was shorted (hence jumping from ’Cutey Pie’ to ‘Channa Meriye’ immediately), major scenes between Fawaad Khan and Anushka had to be rewritten and the previous scenes that were shot were scrapped, basically Johar had to compromise with the narrative in fear of the film being boycotted.
There was some talk at the time that Ranbir Kapoor had a hand in shortening Fawaad’s role due to general insecurity from the Kapoor. As Fawaad had a fan following in India, especially amongst the female crowd, Kapoor didn’t want him to steal his thunder, so taking advantage of the current political scenario Kapoor held one pair of scissors. But again, these were all talks. Johar had made an oath to certain political parties that he would never work with Pakistani artists again, especially after the fiasco he gone through with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
Hu Tu Tu (1999)
After the appreciation and box office acclaim of Maachis (1996), Gulzar had moved onto another political-based drama. This time exploring today’s current corrupt political system through the eyes of the daughter of the Chief Minister. Gulzar repeated Tabu as his protagonist, with Sunil Shetty opposite her and Nana Patekar as the Narrator, village leader Bhau. Hu Tu Tu had halted production in 1997 because of a producer backing out, in which Sunil Shetty had come to the rescue by introducing Gulzar to his Krishna producers Dhirajlal Shah of Time Magnetic.
Gulzar’s statement of the film was the youth’s take on today’s politics and how the youth are not interested in becoming the country’s future leaders; touching on the inch of leaders digging a ditch of a falling country. Post the release of the film, Gulzar had made a statement that Hu Tu Tu will be his final film for a reason, as he was not happy with the final outcome of the film.
Gulzar had mentioned that the producers, Dhirajlal Shah and Pravin Shah of Time Magnetics, had hijacked the editing table from him. He elaborated stating that during the time of filming certain scenes – those being important scenes in which both brothers were present on set of filming, were later chopped in the final edit. The film Gulzar wanted to make and present was not the film we saw. It was said that the Shah brothers found the film too controversial risking its commercial prospects.
The Shah brothers felt that the character of Maltibai, played by Suhasini Mulay, seemed too similar to Indira Gandhi – which was Gulzar’s underlaying intention. Gulzar till now neglects the film and quit direction for good. Gulzar had gone into depression for a long period post the release of the film until he was supported by his daughter and co-writer Meghna Gulzar.
Action Jackson (2014)
Prabhudeva riding high on the success of Wanted (2009) and Rowdy Rathore (2012), it was natural for any superstar of the country to give their nod to the hit director’s working formula. But many aren’t aware that Action Jackson actually went through three script changes before the final film was made. Ajay Devgan blindly signed the film to which Prabhudeva had the intention to remake the Telugu film Dookudu (2011) with Devgan, but Devgan had then changed his mind after the debacle of Himmatwala (2013) clearing that remakes were off his radar. Prabhudeva began searching for a second script.
Eventually Prabhudeva had found a second script and Devgan gave his consent to go ahead. The set was put up and days were pending before the first schedule to begin until another catastrophe occurred. Dhoom 3 (2013) had just released and minting profits at the box office but coincidentally, the second script had many similarities to the Yashraj Film. The story of two twins where one does the crime and the other performs as the alley.
With just 14 days away from the first day of shoot, producers panicked. Ajay Devgan and Prabhudeva had a discussion as it was not possible to abandon the film due to the expensive set put up in Mehboob Studios. Prabhudeva had told Devgan to just trust him and to go with the flow. The eventual last and final script of the film that we saw, was actually invisible. There was no script. Prabhudeva had writers on the set writing scenes prior to filming them while having another set of writers working on the next day shoot. Action Jackson released and an angry Devgan spoke openly about his displeasure on the film but did admit that he himself was at fault somewhere for the film becoming a debacle.
Govinda and Sanjay Dutt star in this Sajid Nadiadwala action drama of two brothers leading their lives post college with the same teaching of their father but with different interpretations, leading both brothers on opposite sides of the law. Govinda rarely seen in an intense role, plays the role of Investigating Civil Engineer taking charge of a investigation regarding a fallen bridge which Dutt is responsible for. The film ran into its first problem during the first schedule in which Divya Bharti who had shot 3-4 reels of the film with Govinda before her death, later resulting to reshoots with Mamta Kulkarni replacing her.
The biggest blow the film suffered was Sanjay Dutt’s imprisonment in 1993 with his connection to the Mumbai Bomb Blasts. Sajid Nadiadwala waited for a substantial amount of time for Dutt’s bail to be granted in order for Dutt to complete the remaining portions of the film. Nadiadwala eventually lost patience. He had a discussion with director Aziz Sajawal and writer Anees Bazmee and decided to work around the film someway of tweaking the plot without Dutt and extending Govinda’s scenes in order to complete the film. Songs that were suppose to be picturised on Dutt were now picturised on Govinda.
Due to the long delay, the film was already suffering from continuity issues and the look of actors changing of the course of time. Aziz Sajawal completed the shoot of the film without Dutt eventually handing the footage over to a very confused editor. Nadiadwala had sat on the editing table with the editor and despite the missing links, they stitched ‘something’ together. Many moments which was required from Dutt was simply skipped – even in the post production, Dutt’s voice was dubbed over by a dubbing artist.
On release, many had criticised the film feeling somewhat ‘incomplete’ which goes without saying with an actor’s portion being left midway. Despite the flak, the film didn’t do bad at box office. It received a decent opening when released on Eid 1995. This was largely due to the curiosity and the fans of Dutt wanting to see him on-screen while being in Jail off-screen.
Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan (1999)
Mahesh Bhatt was coming towards the epilogue his direction career for the reason being Mr Bhatt mentioning he was running low on passion fuel. Bhatt had lost the spirit to direct and there would be days he wouldn’t even turn up to the set. Despite this, the Bhatt’s (Mahesh Bhatt and producer brother Mukesh Bhatt) would still announce films from their production house, Vishesh Films quite frequently, despite who was calling the shots. Much before Mahesh Bhatt had announced his retirement from direction, this film originally began as Mr Aashiq in 1996.
Filming began and several scenes, majority of the songs had been canned by the end of the first schedule. Mahesh Bhatt began to get this eerie feeling of something going wrong – a sense of discomfort and a sense of dissatisfaction creatively. Mahesh Bhatt one day called a meeting with his team at his Juhu office without sharing his inadequate feelings towards the project. He took opinions from the team and how they felt the film was shaping. The team agreed that the film was not up to the mark, in fact a comment passed from a direction assistant that they were simply ‘wasting their time’.
Mr Bhatt had decided to the scrap the film entirely and start afresh with a new script with the same team. They had decided to retain all the songs as other than Jatin-Lalit’s melodious tunes, no one seemed keen on anything in Mr Aashiq. Saif Ali Khan and Twinkle Khanna both had agreed to return to the new revival.
After a stretch of two years, a new script was wrote by Soni Razdan (yes, Alia’s mother) under alias Soni Bhatt and the film was revived with the same team and lead cast members. The film went from being a romance to a slice-of-life comedy. Although the only remaining factor of Mr Aashiq was the songs, but the declining factor here was that the songs had been playing on radios, cars and homes for years until people forgot about them entirely. The film eventually released in 1999 with no distributors and eventually got a direct-to-television release.
Raja Hindustani (1996)
One of the biggest blockbusters of the 90s that became a rage all over the country. Very little know, that Raja Hindustani had gone through multiple changes before the final cut was complete. Believe it or not, the first edit of the film was 4 hrs and 30 mins long! The original script which Dharmesh Darsha was a 80 pager script, but the script kept on changing over the course of filmmaking. Darshan kept on changing and adding elements to the story where he would keep on elaborating on his vision. People had said that Darshan just got ‘too lost’ in his own creation.
With Darshan’s constant changes, Aamir would often sit in disapproval. These changes would often cause friction between the director and actor, as Aamir would reach the set learning it was a scene he had no knowledge nor preparation of. When the filming was complete, Darshan had approved 6 hours of final developed footage he wanted to use for his edit with the first cut coming down to a runtime of 4hr 30 mins.
The producers, the Moranis had endless discussions with Darshan debating that at this length the film would bomb on day one. The producers eventually got Aamir involved in these discussions. After discussions for weeks, they finally came to a mutual decision of what should be incorporated in the final edit.
Several characters were completely removed from the new edit, once several characters had been snipped – their sequences were also removed, in which the narrative to be reworked on. Darshan had expressed that several important moments of the film – especially ones that were quite dear to him were removed. But as a director he had to compromise on the length of his own film. The final edit, which we all saw, was the 2hr 53 min version. The remainder of the footage was eventually disposed.
Jagga Jasoos (2017)
Jagga Jasoos, being Ranbir Kapoor’s first production was sadly and unfortunately a project that was jinxed from the word go. Production had began in 2014, Basu and Ranbir Kapoor reunited after Barfi (2014) and it was natural for a star to reunite with a director after giving a big success – this time only Ranbir decided to bankroll the project himself. Basu had narrated Kapoor about this concept about a teenager who turns detective on a journey to find his father, done with a musical treatment in the traditional Disney format. The only issue is that there is no script.
Basu has a way of working without a full bound script. He would give his actors handwritten scenes on pieces of paper which were wrote in his car before arriving on set. The delays in starting production and Basu’s attitude of working, began to cause issues between Ranbir and Basu. Ranbir’s temper began to erupt on sets when he was not aware of the scene. No attention was given to continuity or synchronization of previous scenes that were shot a year before.
Ranbir’s anger had raised new levels when he had to make a public apology to Govinda for removing his entire portion from the film. Reason for removal – when the script was eventually written much later into production which Ranbir had demanded, the rewrites suggested that Govinda’s character did not connect to the central plot. Ranbir took the entire blame on himself stating that so much had changed with the film and they should have kept on track with these changes.
Eventually the film got a release in 2017, but so much had changed with Jagga Jasoos of its years of making, that even Ranbir as producer had lost interest in the film. The film eventually met its fate at the box office and Ranbir had told the media he definitely had learnt his lesson.
Aatank Hi Aatank (1995)
Many unaware of this The Godfather adaption which happened much before Sarkar (2005). Aamir Khan stars with Juhi Chawla and the first and only time with South Superstar Rajnikanth. Though an adaption of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, this adaption is set amongst the Bombay Underworld in the 90s with Aamir Khan playing the role of Michael Corleone. Dilip Shankar, the eyes behind the lens, went through trouble with the film in the initial stages with casting. Sunny Deol exited being replaced by Aamir Khan and then Divya Bharti walking out for Juhi to enter. The film eventually went on floors in 1990.
The production of the film went though several ups and downs with the production shutting down several times due to financial reasons. Dilip Shankar, with his wife the producer, would start the production between gaps of months and would go back to reshoot some portions. Shankar had even rewrote some portions as to improve the project over gaps during production.
There was a point where certain crew members began to reason with Dilip Shankar as to why he was shooting certain segments. Many team members began to feel that Shankar had either forgot the flow of the narrative or was experimenting with the film’s commercial prospects. Scenes were shot that were outside of the basic plotline. An outrageous love-making scene followed by a song was shot between Aamir and Pooja Bedi, which both the actors completed despite being uncomfortable. Shankar had later removed the song despite the trouble of convincing both actors to shoot the sequence.
A scene in which was a confrontation between Aamir and Om Puri, with heavy dialogues was wrote as very intense scene. Aamir had reasoned with Shankar that the scene made no sense to the build-up of the eventual conclusion of the film. Shankar stuck to his guns and pursued Aamir on the graph of the scene, Aamir being a complete director’s actor, still shot for it. On the editing table, Shankar felt Aamir was right. He felt the scene would was not relevant and would ruin the importance of later scenes, so the scene was removed.
In 1996, Aamir in an interview was asked about the film, he spoke about his displeasure and quoted the film as a ‘huge mess’. He stated so much was shot over the five year production period that the film could have easily been a 4-hour feature. Dilip Shankar, in which Aamir dubbed as a ‘confused director’, that on the editing table he wasn’t aware how much was shot and how much to keep in the final edit. Aamir had stated various portions he personally had shot for were not in the final edit.
Just to add the icing to the cake, in 2000 the film was dubbed in Tamil as Aandavan which twisted the narrative to make Rajnikanth the protagonist. Scenes were reshot in Tamil with Tamil actors, Aamir and Juhi’s scenes were shortened and Rajnikanth’s scenes were extended almost tweaking it entirely into a new film.
The infamous controversy of Padmaavat during the time of its release in which representatives of religious groups had accused filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali of hurting sentiments. One, the Karni Sena offended for the portrayal of Rani Padmavati. The second being the Muslim community for the misrepresentation of Alauddin Khilji. Problems began during its filming in Kolhapur when the entire set was vandalised including members of the Karni Sena had physically abused director Sanjay Leela Bhansali on set.
Throughout the secrecy and the completion of the film, the film landed itself on a hot tin roof when parts of the country angered on the release of the film. Various states around the country had banned the film including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana in India, with several Arab countries around the world banned the film because of the portrayal of the character played by Ranveer Singh.
The court over-ruled the ban and the film was released in only 70% of the country, despite this, members of several political parties had threated to close and burn cinemas playing the film. Many theatre owners, distributors including Bhansali and the co-producers feared their lives when putting the film out there. But many are not aware, the film we finally saw was a very heavily edited version of what was finalized to be released. During this whole mayhem, with Bhansali being scared for his life (there was a bounty by Karni Sena to cut his head) with the pressure of his co-producers at Viacom, had no choice but to cut the film to be less ‘risky’.
It was said the original version was 3hr 30mins long and completely contrasted in terms of tone, mood and narrative to the version that released. It is said, that two very controversial moments in the film including a dream sequence between Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati which involved love-making (when this scene was being filmed when the set was being vandalised). The second scene being a scene being a homoerotic sequence between Alauddin Khilji and his servant Malik Kafur. These scenes, with many more were removed and said to be erased. It does seem very unlikely that any of us will see Bhansali’s original and bold vision.
Khuda Gawah (1992)
Mukul Anand at this point ridding high on the success of Hum (1991) and previously did the acclaimed but-not-so-successful Agneepath (1990) did his third outing with Amitabh Bachchan. The film was remembered for its lavish locations in Afghanistan, that too being shot during a period of conflict. Khuda Gawah ran into a lot of issues for possibly the wrong reasons. For many who have seen the film, originally the first script draft of the film was to be based centrally on the character of Sridevi, the daughter. Many are aware, Sridevi did a dual role of both Mother and Daughter in the film and the Daughter’s character is introduced post-interval. But originally, the crux of the film was about a daughter’s search for her roots and her journey in which she finds that her father is still alive in a prison somewhere in India.
Over a period of time, the narrative had changed drastically. The film began in 1988 and had frequent delays, but the biggest change was Amitabh’s role. Originally the role was wrote as a guest appearance – eventually becoming a full-fledged role. Originally, Amitabh was only scheduled to shoot for 20 days but Mukul Anand, being in awe of the Senior Bachchan, he had extended his role. This meant the entire first half of the film had changed, the first half of the film now only focused on the Amitabh and Sridevi (the mother)’s portion while the daughter’s angle did not come into the narrative post interval.
Mukul Anand’s ‘change of narrative’ decision caused a lot friction – especially amongst other co-stars. Sanjay Dutt had shot for 10 days of the film and after knowing the script had changed, he quietly decided to exit the film. Despite Dutt’s exit, in some promotions parts of the country, had already printed Dutt on the posters. A big war of words was called out in the media with Mukul Anand calling Dutt an ‘insecure actor’ etc. Dutt eventually spoke to the media and said ‘I did not want to look like fool in an Amitabh Bachchan film. I was told Amitabh sir only had a guest appearance now the film seems to be all about him. My character has changed so drastically that the character does not enter till after the interval. Why is that Agneepath and Hum, that started much after Khuda Gawah completed and released so soon? I think Mr Mukul Anand has his priorities elsewhere.”
Telugu star Nagarjuna had replaced Dutt. Farah Naaz had also exited the film after Dutt’s leave later being replaced by Shilpa Shirodkar. Shoots went haywire and budgets had gone up. With the replacement of casting, many portions had to be reshot only delaying the film further. The film eventually released and was sold as an Amitabh Bachchan starrer but ironically the film bombed for the same reason. Fans of the star complained that there little to see of the star in the second act of the film.
After giving a decent outing with his last Dus (2005), Anubhav Sinha returned to same zone of stylish action. This time going again with ensembled cast, Sinha planned Cash as a heist film about two teams of thieves out to steal a set of three diamonds. Ajay Devgan leading one team and Sunil Shetty leading the other. Some issues were caused when the film had gone overbudget during the first schedule in Cape Town causing friction between producers – Anish Ranjan and Sohail Maklai. To which Sohali Maklai was shown the exit door and Adlabs were going ahead to take over the film as co-producers.
Ajay Devgan, being close friends with Sohali Maklai, had took Maklai’s side in this dispute as he said he only signed the film for his friend. Anubhav Sinha had made a call to Devgan as he was planning to shoot a song. Devgan made it clear that he would only shoot for the film till matters between the producers were to be solved. An impatient Sinha, went ahead and shot the song sequence without him. This infuriated Devgan and told Sinha that henceforth he has nothing to do with the film. Devgan still had 5-6 action sequences yet to be filmed.
With the film laying incomplete, Devgan exiting the film, there was talk of the film being shelved. It then came as an idea to Sinha to animate the action sequences which involved Devgan. They animated the action sequences including the final climax showdown.
Later on, some portions including Ayesha Takia’s character in the beginning was also brought in, even Zayed Khan’s scenes were extended. On release, the public were shocked to see Ajay Devgan’s action sequences all being animated, stating it looked like an amateurish animation feature leaving the audience distinctively sleepy. It was Sinha’s animation idea actually worked against the film hence the film bombed at the box office.
Regarded as the remake of The Bodyguard (1992), helmed by South director Ravi Raja who had earlier had directed a couple of Hindi films with Chiranjeevi, teams up with the Hindi he-man, Sunny Deol. The film began production late 1992, at this point Divya Bharti was apart of the cast. Ravi Raja had a good reputation in the industry in finishing his films on time. He earlier would demand his producers to upfront the expenditure and would usually finish his films even in one schedule. Angrakshak was no exception, in fact by early 1993, the film was almost complete – until a tragedy had hit.
Divya Bharti’s mysterious death had sent shockwaves around the industry, an actress so young with almost 18 films on floor. Angrakshak only demanded 10 days more from her in order for completion. Ravi Raja and the producers decided to replace her with Pooja Bhatt and shoot the entire film again. Only issue was by this point Sunny Deol had become busier with brother’s launch pad, Barsaat (1995). As Sunny was handling the complete production of his brother’s launch film, it became harder to get his dates, but Sunny had lost a lot of interest in Angrakshak by this time hence he didn’t give it much priority.
Ravi Raja convinced Sunny and had to shoot the portions with Pooja Bhatt but Sunny refused to reshoot certain portion and told them to retain them from the original. Major scenes that earlier involved Divya and Sunny, that were planned to be reshot, were eventually dropped because of Sunny’s hectic schedule. The outdoor schedules were eventually scrapped and they tried to plan everything in Bombay for the convivence of Sunny.
Eventually the film released exactly one year after the film initially began its promotions. The audio and music promotions had began end of 1994 and film released end of 1995. Ravi Raja after the release, in interviews, mentioned that only ‘half’ of his film had released – the other was neither reshot or was lying in cans with the Divya Bharti enacted portions. From this bad experience, Ravi Raja vowed never to return to Hindi cinema.
Mohabbat Ki Aarzoo (1994)
Many may not be aware of the rise and fall of the Muslim Social Drama, which was quite regular to the cinegoers at one point. Many relevant films in the genre being Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Mere Mehboob (1963), Dil Hi To Hai (1963), Pakeezah (1972) and then later being revived with Umrao Jaan (1981) and Nikaah (1982). Mohabbat Ki Aarzoo had actually started as a Muslim social when the production had began in 1992.
Midway through the film, the Bombay Blasts had occurred in 1993 causing disruption to productions and filmmakers all around the city. This film too was halted for the same reason. A sense of fear was riding on many and the current climate in the film industry advised not to push ahead of their current production. Mohabbat Ki Aarzoo, that too being a Muslim Social Drama, in this current political climate began to give the makers second thoughts. The makers, K.C Bokadia and Dilip Kankaria, had decided that during these tensed times, a Muslim social would not work at the box office. During a period of hate and angst and religion playing a forefront card, they felt wouldn’t be right to make a film that was one-community sided. So the narrative was changed from a Muslim social to a Rajasthani Social midway through filmmaking.
The film released and as we saw, it bombed. Rishi Kapoor had actually mocked the film in the media post the release of the film. Kapoor had stated that the makers were just trying to playing safe without getting into a political agenda, for their safety, the film suffered.
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander (1992)
This 90s classic and one of very few Hindi sports films, had a smooth run at the box office when released but did not exactly have a smooth run during its making. It was said that Mansoor Khan, the director and Aamir’s cousin was suffering with stress on a regular basis during production, so much that he even considered quitting direction post JJWS. Things got that out of hand that the film was on the verge of being shelved. Scheduling conflicts, issues with planning and then the last blow of the exit of Milind Soman. Originally Milind Soman played the role of Shekhar Malhotra, which was later played by Deepak Tijori, but Soman had shot almost half of the film before his exit.
After Soman’s exit and all the issues regarding the film, Mansoor had a meeting with his cast and crew – to come to a decision to whether shelve the film or continue filming. Cast members including Aamir and Ayesha Jhulka had immense faith in the film and wished to continue – while assistants like Faisal Khan (Aamir’s brother) had an issue that the film’s expenses would rise. Eventually the film began again, even Pooja Bedi later came on board replacing model Karishma. While casting and other changes were taking place, Mansoor attempted to avoid frequent trips to Dehradun (where most of the film was already shot) and tried to cheat Dehradun in parts of Maharashtra.
Nasir Hussain, Mansoor’s father, was extremely disappointed with Mansoor’s management skills. Too much had gone haywire. Mansoor had eventually overshot the film not remembering where and what had to be reshot. Eventually Nasir Hussain saw the length of the footage and mentioned that it was enough to make two films! Nasir stayed away but employed a qualified editor to make clarity to Mansoor’s film. Eventually what we saw was the approved version from Nasir, Mansoor and Aamir who spent day and night on the final edit. Released and happy with the film, JJWS eventually got the success and appreciation it deserved, but the remaining portions which Mansoor had overshot remain a mystery as to what was shot on the footage and where it remains.
Sunny Deol’s directorial debut which released before the start of the new millennium, brought both real-life brother’s together for the first time under their home production banner, Vijeta Films. Plans for Dillagi came around when certain plans earlier did not materialise as expected. Earlier, Dillagi began in 1997 under the title London – which at that point was directed by British director Gurinder Chadha. Many are unaware and a lot false reports indicate that both films are different – in which some extent is true but both films began with the same germ. The basic premise of an elder brother’s responsibility of his younger brother post the death of their mother, mothering the younger brother but both brothers fall for the same girl. But the question is, what actually happened to London?
Sunny Deol being impressed with Chadha’s directorial skills with Bhaji on the Beach (1993) and met Chadha and spoke about a possible collaboration. The collaboration happened in the form of London, with Deol’s vision of being a commercial Hindi film made on a International scale, but the on the other hand Chadha was visualising London as British-Asian film. Problems began to arise on day one, the Deols trying fit in the International crew standards and the Chadha’s attempt to work around Hindi film stars. Sunny Deol was dissatisfied with Chadha’s poor management skills as earlier her films were made at a independent level – here she seemed to struggle with a larger production setup. Shooting was going on full throttle, promotional material had even reached cinemas – until one day, Sunny decided to pull the plug.
Vision collision, budgeting gone wayward (almost 8 Crores had been spent on the film being completed at almost 60%) Chadha just didn’t understand the format of shooting a ‘Hindi film’, hence Sunny had shown her the exit door and donned the director’s cap himself. Sunny had changed the film’s setting from London to Mumbai. Although some portions shot by Chadha had been retained – like Sunny’s home portions were all shot in a house located in London, shot by Chadha. Including various other moments that didn’t require a reshoot.
Karishma Kapoor had exited the film fearing that the Deols would delay the film further, she was replaced by Urmila Matondkar. Various other members including Vishal Bhardwaj, earlier the music director was replaced by Jatin-Lalit – the songs that were earlier shot for London were scrapped. Suneel Darshan, was the Executive Producer on the film, exited the film after a fallout regarding Darshan’s film Jaanwar (1999) – which earlier starred Deol.
Sunny had directed and completed the film, almost solely. Many had said Deol did a very commendable job in the directional department but the film failed to make a mark at the box office – may had mentioned due to the extensive length of the film and some had mentioned due to Pyaar Koi Khel Nahin (1999) releasing a week earlier – which had an almost identical plot.