Faridoon Shahryar: We have two of the finest actors in Bollywood. And both of them are National Award winners – Farooq Sheikh and Sarika. Huge honour to have you on Bollywood Hungama, first of all!
Farooq Sheikh: Pleasure, pleasure!
Faridoon Shahryar: They are a part of a film called 'Club 60' which is coming up. Please tell us something about the film because from what I've read about the film, it's not a usual take on senior citizens. It's like you guys are having a lot of fun! Please tell us something about the film.
Farooq Sheikh: Me or the lady?
Faridoon Shahryar: Whoever wants to talk first!
Farooq Sheikh: The lady first
Sarika: Actually you should be talking first because he's more part of the club. He goes there, you see. So I think that's his track.
Farooq Sheikh: Essentially, it's about what you do at whatever age you are. That's the theme of the film. Numerical quantity of the age has very little to do with your lifestyle. If you are physically mobile and mentally active, then you can be whatever you want to be. And that is really what the film is trying to say. Also in today's time and age, the 60 of 2012 is probably the 40 of maybe 20 years ago. So you don't really 'retire' because you've reached 60 or because you've crossed 60. So whatever kind of, what we popularly call joie de vivre continues to exist inside you, regardless of what your date of birth says. And that's really what the film is about.
Faridoon Shahryar: Apparently, you guys are indulging in lot of abuses as well and you guys talk about sex and bitching and all that stuff happen as well…
Farooq Sheikh: I don't! Neither does she! Some other character might!
Faridoon Shahryar: Sharat Saxena, Tinnu Anand, Raghuveer Yadav and Satish Shah are the other actors who are a part of the film. What exactly are you doing in the film?
Sarika: I am a doctor, so is he (Farooq). We are a couple and we've just shifted cities. And we've come to a new city and there's something in the film. Something happens and how we are dealing with it or trying to learn a new way of living life. I can't go more into this because I would be telling you the story. But it's basically sort of how they are trying to, sort of, live life in a new way.
Farooq Sheikh: Another aspect of it is that how Sarikaji's character is really the hub of the relationship. How she holds the relationship and their life together – that is also an important aspect. Because whatever happens in the film is affecting the man more than it is affecting the lady because she's stronger, more mature, more sensible of the two.
Faridoon Shahryar: Script has become and there are movies like Vicky Donor and Kahaani – good films and good scripts which necessarily may not be having big stars. They are doing well at the box office; they are appreciated by all and sundry. In that context, do you think people are primarily looking for good films, good cinema and good scripts rather than big stars?
Sarika: I think so. They are looking for good scripts. I think they are looking for good scripts for a very long time. We are the ones who were not giving it to them. They are ready for a long time but somewhere we were stuck in that kind of an understanding that 'O! They want entertainment. Let's not get serious with them.' The minute some of the directors and filmmakers decided to do that – if you see the reaction – be it Paan Singh Tomar or Vicky Donor; look at how varied the films are; how ready they have been! It's not that they have just been ready about. I think for about 2-3 years, they are ready. So fortunately, never mind it's late, but it's happening.
Faridoon Shahryar: You had a 'Parzania' and you won a National Award for that. Do you at times wonder that films like that could have been presented differently in terms of a release and…
Sarika: But it's not in our control. We wanted it to release differently but the point is that it's not what we want. There was a very huge film (Salaam-E-Ishq) which released with Parzania which they had booked five shows in a day. Like there are six screens out of which five shows are gone in all six screens. So we had one 9:30 show in the morning and at 10:45 in the night! So we didn't want that. We wanted at least one show where people could actually come and see the film. But that didn't happen. So those things, I think, are not in your control. I think personally you should have a theatre dedicated to only these kinds of films. A theatre where if a big film comes, you say that we don't want you because we need more exposure!
Faridoon Shahryar: Do you feel at times that maybe movies like 'Parzania' could have had a proper online release maybe because these days, it has happened in fact?
Sarika: No, it's not that. Online release is a different situation. The first thing a filmmaker wants is to release his film in a theatre. Films basically should be seen in the theatre. For some reason, if you can't screen them in a theatre is when you start looking at alternatives.
Faridoon Shahryar: How about the re-release of 'Parzania'?
Sarika: I wish they would do that. That would be brilliant because so many people have not seen it. And this time we can make sure that when there's no big film coming, we can come in that weekend and take all the five shows!
Faridoon Shahryar: Same with 'Lahore' and a very fine performance. You got a National Award for that. Maybe it could had been promoted differently…
Farooq Sheikh: Essentially, what is happening is that nobody wants to bell the cat. Cinema – from day one, from the time it was first shown – is essentially about engrossing narrative. It does not matter what the age factor of your main protagonist is or isn't. You can make a film on a little child and it can be very engrossing. You can make a film on a very old man and it can be very engrossing. The best portions of 'Mother India' are after Nargisji is past her prime in the film. Similarly, so many other films that we can point out. It is essentially about an engrossing narrative. And it is not a day too early that filmmakers are being made to realize that if you have something good to say and you know how to say it well enough, the audience is only too ready and too happy to accept it. But if you don't give them the opportunity, like Sarikaji was saying – you have 6 screens in which you give the most remote and the most unreachable slot to a film that deserves much better – so you're making sure that that film doesn't get seen. I have at least attended at least two shows of Parzania and the audience comes out overwhelmed, as indeed did I. You can't forget the film. And it's a great pity that we are not seeing any chance of 'Parzania' being released in a regular manner in the near future because we like to such films and we want to see such films. But you've to give the audience the opportunity. Agar aap dukaan mein woh saamaan hi nahi rakhenge, to kharidne waala kharide kya? Jo aapne rakha hai usko kharidega. Phir kharidne ke baad chaahe usse kose ya chaahe usse saraahe, kharidega wohi jo aapne rakha hai dukaan mein
Faridoon Shahryar: At times, do you wonder that in the prime of your youth, you had roles like 'Satte Pe Satta' or anglicized roles like someone who is physically desirable woman…
Sarika: Why should I be apologetic about it?
Faridoon Shahryar: In the sense that in the last 10 years for that matter, the kind of cinema that you're doing, suddenly people have discovered an altogether different side of you.
Sarika: No no, you are unnecessarily giving me importance. It's not about me. Cinema has changed. The way they are looking at women has changed. What women used to do then and what women do now are two different things. So it is not one person. It is the whole industry, the way they are making films, has changed. Earlier you had women doing only 4 roles – the lover, the mother, the sister and the item girl. Today, one woman does everything or does none of them. So you see the times have changed. Why women, even men for that matter, you know, people doing light scenes and then you had the bad guy and then you had the hero.
Faridoon Shahryar: 'Chashme Buddoor' is being remade. David Dhawan is remaking it. Your role is done by Ali Zafar. Does it flatter you that a movie that you did 25 years back and it's still remembered and people remember it so fondly – Miss Chamko and aapke jo saare dialogues the – the interaction between you and Ravi Baswani?
Farooq Sheikh: Let me tell you without being unduly modest. Whatever merit exists in that film, exist because how Sai (Paranjpe) wrote and how Sai made it. Had it been somebody other than Farooq Sheikh and Ravi Baswani and Rakesh Bedi doing it, or even Deeptiji doing it, the film would still have done as well. Because what Sai had to say and the manner in which she could manage to say was completely different than what was on display at that time. And if Davidsaab can manage to get that kind of a spirit – I don't know what the script is like. Whether he has kept the exact same script or whether he has changed it or whether he has updated it in the same mould, I don't what it is like. But if he can manage to do that, I think he has got a winner in his hand.
Faridoon Shahryar: Farooquesaab, even then, when you were doing cinema, you films were entertaining like Katha was a very very entertaining film in fact. And same with Chashme Buddoor and so many others. You did many films which were entertaining and at the same time, thought provoking. Agar dekha jaaye to aaj bhi aap shayad wohi keh rahe hai ki you're still trying to do similar sort of stuffs in terms of script. Do you wonder that ye jo demarcations bana diye jaate hai ki art cinema and commercial cinema, ye sab figments of imagination hai?
Farooq Sheikh: These are actually labels of convenience. And labels of convenience invented by the media for their own convenience! Is anybody going to stand up and say that there was no art in Manmohan Desai's films? There were several kinds of arts in every department. Or that there is no commerce in late Satyajit Ray's films? Raysaab was not admitting anybody free into the auditorium. He was charging for a ticket which Mr Manmohan Desai was doing too. And then there was the art of cinematography, the art of storytelling, editing, makeup, histrionics in both the films. This was completely a convenient label invented by the media. It's just that what is it that you want to offer in lieu of the ticket that the spectator buys. I may offer something that is completely different from what somebody else might offer. What I offer depends on my own sensibilities and my own resource. And the same would prevail for somebody else.
Faridoon Shahryar: You are having actors like Satish Shah and Raghuveer Yadav who's really a fantastic actor. So please tell us something about the star cast.
Farooq Sheikh: Work really has started only yesterday. And today is the second day. So it's difficult to say on her face but I've been a huge admirer of Sarikaji's work for some time now. And while I knew her very casually earlier and we were like 'How are you Sarikaji?' and 'How are you Farooqsaab?', but I've been wanting to work with her for quite some time.
Faridoon Shahryar: She's quite good looking as well. She's very good looking!
Farooq Sheikh: O God! What more do you want me to say to her on her face?
Faridoon Shahryar: What was the better incentive – the work that she has done or the looks?
Farooq Sheikh: I'll have to think really hard on that because both are very tempting aspects of her personality! But when we read the role and everybody suggested that we should have Sarikaji for this. But the producer-director was little reticent about whether she would accept it or not because she's selective about the kind of work she does and she doesn't need to grab everything that's offered to her. So we were little apprehensive about ki haan kahegi ya naa kahegi ya ghar se baahar nikaal degi, pata nahi kya hoga! But when they met her, she liked it and we are all thrilled that she did.