Phir Hera Pheri (2006) is a favourite film of every Bollywood fan and the way it has acquired a numero uno status in the world of memes is legendary. As the Akshay Kumar-Suniel Shetty-Paresh Rawal starrer completed 16 years on June 9, Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke with its producer Firoz Nadiadwala about the film and a lot more. The producer, just like in his films, also likes to add a lot of entertainment and fun in his interviews. At the same time, it is heartening to see how he makes it clear that late writer-director Neeraj Vora is chiefly responsible for the film’s super-success.
After how many years of Hera Pheri did you decide to make Phir Hera Pheri?
We released the first part in 2000. In the latter part of 2003, when we were through with Awara Paagal Deewana (2002) and Aan – Men At Work (2004) is when I spoke to Neeraj Vora ji. This was a time when the idea of a sequel was non-existent.
Nevertheless, I still asked Neeraj ji how we should take this story forward. He was kind enough to give me a patient hearing. We finalized the plot. Then we requested Akshay ji, Paresh bhai and Suniel. Even they found the concept of a sequel very alien. ‘Part 2 aaj tak kabhi bana hai kya?’, they asked me. We had our discussions, after which the trio put their total confidence in us. That’s how we started Phir Hera Pheri. By God’s grace, it turned out well.
So yes, it is India’s first sequel where a franchise was established. Pehli baar logon ko laga ki ek Bollywood film ka part 2 bhi ho sakta hai.
What do you think went in favour of the film? Even after 16 years, it continues to make waves…
What worked is Neeraj ji’s thought and belief. If you notice, this is a movie about innocent characters. Chahe Baburao ho ya Raju ho ya Shyam ho ya Totla Don ho, sab masoom hai. Sab hoshyari kar rahe hai aur ek dusre ko huul de rahe hai. Lekin phir bhi masoom hai. Hence, it became like a Disney kind of a movie. And people lapped it up.
Since you were stepping into an unknown territory, were you tensed or scared?
Darr ko overcome karne ka ek hi tarika hai. Mehnat karo. Moreover, we had full support from Paresh bhai and Akshay ji. We used to have proper dialogue rehearsals. The film rests on timing. Neeraj ji used to ensure that nothing is lost in translation. Often a writer hands over the dialogue sheet to the actor. And the actor ends up delivering the dialogue in a different rhythm. Neeraj ji ka hallmark yeh tha ki woh jis rhythm soch ke dialogue likhte the, wohi set pe actors se bulwate the. He used to even tell actors where they should take a pause. He used to enact them as well as he’s from theatre.