30 years of Khal Nayak: Subhash Ghai reveals every star back then wanted to do the film | Bollywood

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Remember the popular song Naayak Nahi Khal Nayak Hu Main… these lyrics from Khal Nayak’s (1993) title track were actually the seed that led filmmaker Subhash Ghai create the cult film.

Subhash Ghai shares details about the making of Khal Nayak.
Subhash Ghai shares details about the making of Khal Nayak.

“The whole film was written with the thought that every villain is aware of who a good man is. That’s why, I always call the antagonist, tragic hero of the film. And because I wanted to bring this theme out well on the screen, casting was the most difficult part,” says Ghai, as the film clocks 30 years.

Ghai, who has worked with actors like Jackie Shroff, Rishi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor, reveals how every star back then wanted to work on Khal Nayak. “It was very challenging for me to find the right fit,” says the filmmaker, sharing the reason why he finally chose Sanjay Dutt over others. “Once Sanju asked me why I chose him for the role, and I told him it’s because of his eyes. Uski aankhon mein ek bholapan hai, ek bachpana hai. But in the very next moment, you see a man who’s full of anger. He plays the son, but at the same time he justifies the character of a villain who kidnaps and murders,” he elaborates.

But that was not all. The 78-year-old further says that another very important factor while casting for the role of Khal Nayak was that he wanted an actor “who would completely surrender to the director. In those times, the director used to be the supreme power, unlike today when stars and studios rule the space”.

It was the “principal character”, Ghai adds, “And I wanted to get it right. I enacted each and every scene for Sanju. I wanted to make that character look very unpredictable. Yeh abhi pyaar karega, ya maar dega, ye pata nahi lagta. And fortunately, he played the character exactly like I told him to.”

In an attempt to make Dutt look unpredictable, Ghai had to improvise several scenes in the film and that was quite last minute. “There’s a scene when he goes to jail to meet a guy and nicely talks to the him. But as Sanju’s character hugs him, woh uska gala daba kar maar deta hai. Not many people on the set were aware that this would happen and that’s why they were surprised. My assistant, in fact, asked to cut the shot because he thought galti se kar dia Sanjay ne and I told them to let it happen as I had improvised it. We shot it like that and everyone loved it,” he recalls.

Another improvisation happened in the iconic song Choli Ke Peeche. Ghai recollects that Dutt was supposed to normally watch Madhuri Dixit-Nene dance there. “But then, we decided to improvise it and added a patch to Sanjay’s eye to bring that drama to the scene. And I think that worked as it looked really well on the screen,” he tells us.

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