"I was screen tested for the part of Draupadi in Mahabharat" - Juhi Chawla

By Devansh Patel Bollywood Hungama News Network

One of the darlings of Indian cinema, Juhi Chawla, couldn't be happier to talk about her new film Bhoothnath, and as she sits in her London hotel suite draped in her red and golden anarkali dress, it's clear that Bhoothnath is a film that means a lot to her. Call her the chirpy Chawla as many of the journos call her, she seemed totally relaxed and frank while talking about her costar-friend SRK, the IPL, her kids, then begins to lavish praise on her new director and describes her 'Ek Rishta' with Amitabh Bachchan in this exclusive interview for Bollywood Hungama.

Former Miss India, then ad campaigns, then your beautiful smile, then your first big hit QSQT followed by plenty more, your best buddy SRK, then your 'saat phere' with Jai Mehta, your kids, then some more ad campaigns followed by your Saade Saat Phere with Irrfan Khan and the least you expect is a 'bhooth'. How do you sum up your journey so far?
Talking about the journey, you've been following me since 6.30 am from Heathrow airport. So you must have guessed that my journey was hectic. Anyway, the way you started it, I thought where will you land up? But yes, you are right. It has been one hell of a journey. So much has happened so fast and look, I am a mother of two and still doing films. It's good to be back in London after a long long time for the promotion of Bhoothnath. My journey still continues after this film though. But here I am ready to face your questions.

Juhi Chawla has never been a part of a B.R. Films. Then how did you find your first outing with them?
The outing has been great. Bhoothnath has been a wonderful experience for more reasons than just one. I am working with Mr. Bachchan after a long gap, the same with Shah Rukh. Actually, my last film with both of them happened to be Paheli and that too was a ghost film. But working with Ravi Chopra was one of my most memorable moments simply because of the experience and talent he has brought along with his production house. To be a part of B.R. Films in your cinematic journey is a must for everyone.

You play Banku's mother in the film but have you ever encountered a Banku in any of your kids?
(Laughs) Don't even remind me of it. My kids can be naughty, frustrating, mad and even go outside the house. I then have to spank them but all in good faith. From the most joyous and blissful moments to the most frustrating moments, I've had them all with my kids. It's an experience I cannot forget all my life.

Do you think that in Press conferences held overseas and events which promote the individual film, kids are somehow forgotten and it's only the big stars who steal the show?
Let me tell you that our little Banku has been a part of many shows and promotional tours back in India. It was him (Aman Siddiqui) who launched the soundtrack of Bhoothnath on the musical reality show Amul Star Voice of India. It is quite sad that he is not present here with us in London but that's not what we intended. I guess he must be a bit busy with Bhoothnath back home (laughs).

You've worked with a bhooth, your very good friend SRK, in Paheli. Bhooth here is Amitabh Bachchan. How was your Ek Rishta with him?
You've framed this question very nicely. Yes, as I've said before that this is the second time I'm working with both SRK and Amitji. In Paheli, I did not share screen space with Shah Rukh because his portions were more with Rani Mukherjee in the film. In Bhoothnath, it's almost a similar story. It's the kid, Banku, who shares screen space with the bhooth. I am a mother who doesn't believe in ghosts until the ghost reveals itself. Working with Amitji is a dream come true for any actor and sharing a scene with him is even more special. Coincidently, I am working with him again in Aladdin where he plays a genie. Now that's spooky (laughs).

You thanked everybody and mentioned every co-actors name in Bhoothnath but forgot one - Shah Rukh Khan. Do you think he is not a part of this film only because he is doing a special appearance?
Oh Yes. I did forget to name him but that does not mean he is not a part of the film. Even though he has only 20 minutes in Bhoothnath, he has played his part well. In fact, I told Vivek Sharma, the director, that how lucky he was to have Amitji and Shah Rukh both in his debut film.

You mentioned in the Press conference that you have worked once with B.R Chopra before. Can you clarify that a bit?
(Laughs) Yeah. This is going back to my Miss India title. After winning the title, I got an offer from B.R Chopra saab to work in their tele series Mahabharat. In fact, they screen tested me for the part of Draupadi. I was selected too but at the same time, I got another offer to work in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak which happened to be my debut film. So I had to choose between the two. What happened next, everyone knows.

Why don't we see you along with SRK in all the IPL matches? You both are owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders and you should be attending.
I am so busy with my two kids that I just cannot leave them. But it's Jai, my husband, and SRK who have the control over what's going on in the IPL. I hope that Kolkata Knight Riders win the tournament. Do you know, I am not even following the matches? Such is my halat. Shah Rukh is such an excellent marketing guy that right from the special music video for our team to the clothes they wear, he wants everything in the right place. No compromises there for him. But I have attended couple of matches with him. Let me get back to India and I'll have a think about it again.

This is the first time you have sung a song in the film. How was the experience?
Now that's been the highlight of today's event. Pehle nachvaenge aur ab gavaenge (laughs). I have trained myself as a classical vocalist and when I was given a chance to sing, I did. The song is called 'Jaane Do' which is a slow number. You will soon find out after seeing the film whether I've got my career in singing or acting (laughs).

Any message for all the special kids out there?
The message is that, Go and watch Bhoothnath. It's a story of a haunted house where this family goes to stay and where they meet this ghost. Don't worry guys; I am not trying to scare you. It's a fun film with lots of emotions and laughter and an underlined message that is be good to the ones who are bad too. You never know when a foe might turn into a friend. But do go and watch it for Vivek Sharma who has put his heart and soul in this film. A must watch for his creative direction.

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