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    'Salaam Namaste' one of biggest overseas hits: Chopra

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Saturday, October 15, 2005
    Filmmaker Yash Chopra says that despite its unconventional theme, "Salaam Namaste" is one of the biggest overseas hits.

    "Yes, ''Salaam Namaste'' was a big hit in India though not as big as ''Bunty Aur Babli''. But overseas, it''s one of the biggest ever... simply mind blowing," Chopra told IANS in an interview.

    "If you make a film on a live-in relationship you are taking a risk and have to be ready for any eventuality," he said.

    Here are the excerpts of the interview:

    "Salaam Namaste" raised quite a few eyebrows.

    Yes, it has generated a lot of controversy. How long can we continue to make the same kind of films? Civilization is moving forward so rapidly that it's very difficult for our cinema to keep up with the times.

    We've six independent directors - Kunal Kohli, Siddharth Anand, Shaad Ali, Arjun Sablok, Sanjay Gadhvi and Shimit Amin - making films for us. They bring with them their own individual sensibilities and ideologies.

    I don't tell directors how to make films. They bring their scripts. If we like them, we produce them. We've to let them make films the way they want to, while Adi (Aditya Chopra) and I make the cinema we believe in.

    Yashraj Films' success ratio in recent times is unparalleled.

    Success is so rare these days. The days of silver and golden jubilees are over. If a film does well in Mumbai, Delhi and overseas, the producer feels successful and happy. If we make more money than what we invest in a film, it's a success. How we do it and by tapping which channel of production, we never know.

    We've now started two new productions "Dhoom 2" and "Fanaah." The first has Aishwarya (Rai) and Hrithik (Roshan) together and the second has Aamir (Khan) and Kajol for the first time. We've almost completed Arjun Sablok's "Neal & Nickie" which we'll be releasing in December. After that, Yashraj Films will be releasing Rakesh Roshan's "Krissh", in some centres, and Karan Johar's "Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna."

    Is it true that there was a contract whereby Aishwarya was asked to wear a bikini for "Dhoom 2"?

    (Laughs) This is the first time I'm hearing about this. But, yes, Aishwarya did offer to work on herself. Every artiste wants to look his or her best on screen. What's wrong with that?

    She asked for a few months for some physical training. She starts shooting for "Dhoom 2" as soon as Hrithik comes back from the shooting of "Krissh." What Aishwarya has to wear has been told to her beforehand.

    When we signed Esha Deol for "Dhoom", we were conscious that she was Hema Malini's daughter. Aditya worked out Esha's look. And we showed the look to Hemaji and Esha. They were taken into confidence. And look at what "Dhoom" did to Esha!

    How important is marketing for a movie?

    Very important. But you can't sell a product that the audience doesn't want. Of the 150-200 films released a year, the audience chooses to go to theatres for 10. You've to make sure you bring the audiences in to see those 10 films through promotion and marketing.

    Word-of-mouth publicity is a myth. The only recent film that ran by this method was my elder brother B.R. Chopra's "Baghban." It was such a brilliant subject. My brother lived with the idea for 20 years.

    You recently turned a year older.

    Mentally I feel younger and younger every year. I feel I'm at the most 36 years old, not just as a filmmaker but also as a human being.

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