Mumbai: Director Abhiraj Minawala seems to be excited, anxious and with all emotions together as his debut film ‘Loveyatri’ from Salman Khan Films is all set to release. Not many know that Abiraj also worked with the ace director Yash Chopra in ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ in his last film. Abiraj discloses a secret when he goofed up with the continuity shot of Katrina Kaif and much more in an exclusive interview.
“I was the chief AD of the film ‘Sultan’. So my association started from this film with Salman Khan. Salman saw me and asked me what my plan was. He asked me if I will work on his production, but I told him I didn't have a script. I was getting married and was going to Europe. He said he had a script in mind, he never told me who it was for, but it all came together.”
About his initial days, Abhiraj says, “I wanted to take a break after ‘Sultan’. I was working on my script. I had worked as AD for the film ‘Fan’ also and then ‘Sultan.’ Being a chief AD is a tricky situation because if you continue being an AD, you will never make films independently.”
On differences between YRF and SKF, he says, “More than any differences, I have seen similarities in them. They both know it all, and they have worked in the industry for so long. They both know the pressure, but both are very cool, calm and composed and have been doing it for so long, so they know how to go about it. They exactly know how to handle emotional scenes. Before the emotional scenes, they talk to everyone, and it doesn’t matter. Those emotional scenes are the fastest to shoot. They got their emotions in the right place.”
Working with Yashji as AD on ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, was he ever scolded by the late filmmaker? “I’ll share how I got ‘Jab Tak Hain Jaan’. If you are familiar with how the AD team is compiled, it goes in this order, Chief AD, second AD and art department’s junior most is costume AD. I had done a couple of films and the slot of ADs was full. I wanted to work with Yashji and told Adi (Aditya Chopra) that I want to work on this project. He told me that only costume AD slot is free. I had a back-up plan. I will handle costume, if he said no, I would have become production assistant on the film. I was ready to participate in making of the film. I got to work as the costume AD, which was a new challenge.”
Giving out his secret when he goofed up with a continuity scene of Katrina Kaif, he says, “In ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, the first day of shoot was the back alley scene where SRK (Shah Rukh Khan) comes and in the very first shot, Katrina’s earring went missing. Her close-up was taken after lunch, and her hair was covering her ears, so I could not notice the missing earrings at all. During the close-up shot, I noticed the same and I was feeling bad and feared what will Yashji say now? I went and told Yashji that I am sorry, I was fearful that Yashji will shout at me. But to my surprise, he said, 'Next time be careful as the heroines do that.'”
“I don't end up goofing up like this usually, and I was feeling so bad, but he was cool. Then I made sure that I will check next time onwards by requesting the heroines to show their ears.”
All praises for Yashji, Abhiraj says “Yashji paid attention to details for every minute detailing of the sets. He would remember it. He would point out things that we would overlook. I have learned a lot from Yashji, and I also tried my level best to be able to be perfect in the detailing of every scène. Working with Yashji was absolutely like film school, institute and home for me. I have tried to learn and put everything I’ve learnt in this film.”
Abhiraj grew up watching Yash Chopra’s films. “I have grown up watching Yashji, ‘Kaala Patthar,’ ‘Deewaar’ and romantic films also. He made it all. He was never bound to any particular genre, but we have given him the tag of a romantic director.”
What are the differences between Yashji and Adi? “More than differences, they have similarities. They are similar in thinking, both of them with the kind of films they want to make. They exactly know what they want to shoot. They have already seen the film in their mind before coming on set. I have not got to work with Adi sir directly as I was working on ‘Sultan’, and he was working on ‘Befikre.’ They are loving, and they still want to work more. Clarity is the most important thing and knowledge, which they possessed already. Whatever the have achieved in their career, they still want to learn.”
On interacting with Aditya Chopra, “My first major interaction with him was on ‘Jab Tak Hain Jaan’ as I was working with Yashji at that time. Adi sir was part of it and SRK used to call him Yashji's first AD. I was blessed to work with Yashji, and it was a dream come true,” he concludes....