'Paheli' is a whim of mine, says Shah Rukh...

By Subhash K Jha, IANS

imageMumbai, May 20 (IANS) Much as Amol Palekar would like to hide it, the fact is his much talked-about "Paheli" is based on the same Rajasthani folk tale by Vijaydan Detha that avant-garde director Mani Kaul made as "Duvidha" in 1973.

And producer Shah Rukh Khan confirms this fact.

"Yes, 'Paheli' is based on Vijaydan Detha's story. I had seen Mani Kaul's 'Duvidha' and liked the thought behind it. It's a fantastic folk story of a woman who falls in love with a ghost. Just that one thought gripped me... 'kya hoga, kaise hoga. bhoot kaise pyar karega' (What will happen, how will it happen, how will a ghost love)," Shah Rukh told IANS.

Incidentally, SRK had worked with Mani Kaul way back in 1991 at the inception of his career in a screen adaptation of Dostoevsky's "Idiot". "It was my first non-commercial film. 'Paheli' is done in a format and mood totally different from 'Duvidha'. Like Sanjay Bhansali, Amol Palekar is an innovative creator. He has brought a special sensibility to the whole endeavour."

"Paheli" has special appearances by Shah Rukh's most special friends. "My friends like Amitji, Juhi, Suniel Shetty have been too, too good to me. None of them has been given any role to talk of. But they did it just because I asked them to.

"I really feel 'Paheli' is a whim of mine. I just wanted to produce something completely different. And the fact that everyone I asked went along with my idea proves how much they love me."

He then adds, "I never ask for anything wrong. But still it was really big-hearted of Amitji to agree to do the cameo."

Shah Rukh himself makes guest appearances in two forthcoming films.

"Yes I've done cameos in two films, "Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye" and "Silsilay". Both are directed by old journalist friends, Samar Khan and Khalid Mohamed. And I can never say no to friends."

The shooting of "Paheli" is over. "Insha-allah, we'll release the film by June. I start Karan Johar's directorial film next. This year I was planning to shoot three films. Karan's and Farah Khan's and of course this small-sweet film 'Paheli'. But in between Karan's dad died, Karan himself fell ill and his film got delayed. Now I don't think his film will get released this year."

He describes Farah's film as a "sweet, comic, dancing, singing, happy film called 'Happy New Year'. As for Karan's film, I haven't heard the story as yet. But Rani told me it's very nice. I've been urging him to make a different film. But he shouldn't listen to me.

"If any of my friends get an urge to do something different I'll produce the film. Insha-allah, if 'Paheli' does well, we'll be financially equipped to do a lot of different films. I'm trying to learn about film production from my own and other filmmakers' mistakes."

Shah Rukh has just launched a perfume dedicated to him. "It's called Tiger Eyes. I can understand people using my talent. But using its trappings to sell products... all I can say is I'm blessed".