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'Vivah will not enjoy a houseful opening'

Express Features Service

Posted: Nov 13, 2006 at 1055 hrs IST

There was a time when Sooraj Barjatya seemed to have found the elusive winning formula. His combination of love stories and traditional family set-ups in Maine Pyaar Kiya (MPK) and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun went on to make records at the BO. It went downhill from there. Hum Saath Saath Hain and Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon flopped, badly. Barjatya’s, now, back with Vivah, a “modest-budget film” as he calls it, and by the look of it, he’s stuck to his favourite story.

Simple ceremony

I think it’s become important to work on leaner budgets now because films don’t run more than seven-eight weeks in theatres. There’s home entertainment to compete with. Vivah has been made within a modest Rs 10 crore. I am also aware it won’t have a houseful opening because of the absence of big stars. But I expect word of mouth publicity to push the interest level—that’s how a small budget film works. Big budgets don’t guarantee hits. With Main Prem Ki..., I worked with an extravagant budget, cast the biggest of stars and shot at plush overseas locations, but the film failed. The subject should determine the budget.

Family fortune

My films are made for the entire family to enjoy. I especially target middle-aged women who tend to be rooted to traditional values. And no matter how progressive we are, there are times when we choose to be close to our tradition. My films are meant to celebrate those moments. Contrary to assumption, I think the present scenario can acommodate my kind of films too.

Hum Saath... was not a flop

Hum Saath... is compared with Maine Pyaar... and Hum Aapke...,which created box office records. That’s why they are considered to be flops. All films can’t be as successful as those.

MPK memories

It was my first film, so the experience had to be different and very special. It was a film of my youth and reflects my mental state and personality during that period. But one’s thought process changes as one matures. I have stood by my belief in my latter films. I’d rather make a good film than just aim for hits. Guess that explains why I direct one film in every five years.

The new ‘Prem’

I’m aware that people associate Salman Khan with the name Prem, which is also the name of all my male lead characters. But for Vivah, I wanted an actor in his early 20s. Shahid (Kapur) fit the bill perfectly. In retrospect, I don’t think I could have made the film without Shahid and Amrita (Rao).

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