Pakhi, it is a known fact that you are not just the leading lady of 'Jhootha Hi Sahi' but have also written the story of the film. Though you handed over the script to hubby Abbas Tyrewala who went on to direct the film, weren't you always interested
The film was very close to me, especially so since I had lived with the script for so many years. Sid is someone who is really adorable, nice and sweet. He is someone who is a little geeky as well. This is why when Abbas told me that he was thinking of casting John (Abraham) in the part of Sid, I was taken aback.
Why a doubt? Was it because of 'John - the actor' or 'John - the on-screen hero'?
It was the latter. My question to Abbas was - 'Why to take the best looking man in the industry and make him look average so that he could suit the character that he enacts?'. Though as an audience, I am a huge fan of John, as a scriptwriter I was just not convinced that he should do this film. (Laughs) Still, Abbas managed to talk me out of this doubt and eventually managed to convince me that he was indeed the best fit for the film.
And how did that conversation go?
Abbas said that the very job of an actor is to make every situation seem true and it would challenge both him as well as John to do something worthwhile in 'Jhoota Hi Sahi' so that it all turns out to be convincing in the end. I still had my doubts but Abbas was sure that it made sense to convert a hunk into a geek. Looking at the reactions that have come in so far, looks like he was quite right after all.
In any case, since you had written the script, I am sure that too would have helped Abbas to get the characterisation right, especially with you with him right through the making of the film.
Yes, we could see that John was pretty much going with the flow. It was so exciting to see that the character of Sid was coming out alive. Abbas drew everything from what was written in the script. Sid had to be in his comfort shirts and trousers and John did quite well to fit himself into them. Also, little personality traits were woven in as well that made him further believable.
And what were these traits?
Small but noticeable things like a change in walking style, body language as well as other mannerisms that John adapted. It didn't take time for him to work on it though. I remember that it was the first day of the film's shoot and I was just casually walking with him. However, the moment Abbas said 'action', the entire body language of John changed. He was now a completely different person. He created a different walk of how own and also used his hands very differently. It was 'Sid - the Geek' walking with me then, not 'John - the Hunk'."
Now that the film has released, given the choice whom would you want to return back to? 'Sid – The Geek' or 'John - The Hunk'?
Of course 'Sid - The Geek' (laughs). He is a sweetheart!