Our film isn’t against God or religion: Umesh Shukla

By Hindustan Times

Umesh Shukla clears the air about his directorial debut; talks about adding star power to his film

A film that challenges the teachings of godmen and questions God; won’t it lead to controversies? OMG! Oh My God has been adapted from a Gujarati play, Kanji Virrudh Kanji, that’s enjoyed a 450-show run. The Hindi version, Krishan vs Kanhaiya, has had a 150-plus run and the Marathi version has crossed 100. Our film is not against God or religion and if anyone doubts that, we’re prepared to show them the film. It’s an eye-opener. Many women have told me after watching the plays that if they’d known 20 years ago that God was inside them, their lives might have been different.

Given that the play is still on in three languages, why would people want to see it again as a film?
In a play, you have to restrict yourself to eight scenes, but the film could elaborate and cover the Gita, Quran and Bible. The audience for plays is older, while a film draws youngsters, which also necessitated certain changes.

Like bringing in Sonakshi Sinha for an item song?
The song was always in the script. Paresh Rawal’s seven-year-old son goes off to break a dahi handi a day before his exams. Akshay (Kumar) was doing Rowdy Rathore with Sonakshi and thought she’d do it well. If not her, we’d have got someone else.

Were Sonakshi’s song and Akshay’s cameo added for star value?
Akshay’s role is more than an hour long. Sonakshi was brought in for her star power since the film doesn’t have a female lead.

Weren’t Salman and Shah Rukh in contention to play God?
No, we needed an actor with an certain aura and a mischievous streak. Akshay has all these shades. He’s worked hard, and would be present on the sets by 5.30 am and rehearse every scene.

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