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Kunal Kohli’s 2004 romantic comedy film Hum Tum was released in Hindi cinema 16 years ago on this day, and actress Rani Mukerji remembered her shooting experience with veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, who recently passed away.
“Hum Tum will always be memorable for me because it was the film that Chintu uncle was part of, and I fondly remember our shoot in Amsterdam. Recently, when I met him before his untimely demise, we were chatting about the ‘Hum Tum’ shoot and we were recalling the days of how much fun we had during the Amsterdam schedule,” Rani said.
She recalled that Rishi Kapoor took a leap of faith and played actor Saif Ali Khan’s father in the movie.
“I remember very clearly that, for Chintu uncle, it was one of the first films in which he had started playing key character roles. He took a leap of faith and he agreed to play Saif’s dad because till then he was always the leading star. Somehow he did this and he was just brilliant as usual and made our film truly special!” she said.
Rani shared that she was a huge fan of Rishi Kapoor.
She narrates her memories of acting with him in Hum Tum, saying: “Chintu uncle belonged to the era when actors never did sync sound and ‘Hum Tum’ was a sync-sound film. We were shooting in a house in Amsterdam that had wooden flooring and Dilip Subramaniam was the sound recordist.”
She added: “He kept telling Chintu uncle that each time he would take a step in the house, the floor would creak and create sound. Chintu uncle invariably moved and Dilip would say cut, we will need one more!”
But Rishi Kapoor was not used to more takes, recalled Rani.
“Chintu uncle was just not used to one more take and we used to all crack up because he used to fire him. He used to say what the hell is this, why is the take not getting okayed and why is the floor creaking. He was hilarious. It was quite a first for him because he had to actually understand what this sync sound is all about, because they used to dub for their films back in the day, and these things never mattered,” she said
Rani says Rishi Kapoor’s demise is a double loss.
“It was a first and we used to have lots of chats and laughs about this. I have always been a huge fan of Chintu uncle, and his demise has been a double loss for me, as somebody whom I knew very well and also as a fan,” she said.
Rani feels the film was definitely ahead of the curve by showing a progressive portrayal of women in cinema.
“‘Hum Tum’ was a very, very special subject, a very modern subject. It was definitely ahead of its time. The way my character Rhea reacts at the end and walks away from Saif’s character’s (Karan) life when he just randomly suggests to get married because they had physical intimacy, it was bold.”
“I think that was way ahead of its time for a woman to do this in a Hindi film. For a girl to actually walk away from a man and break stereotypes and notions of how a woman should react, it was new but it was also much needed to show in cinema.”
She feels that the film spoke about a new emerging woman.
“Before Hum Tum, we hadn’t seen many roles where women were strong and self-reliant like that. They would hardly take a stand like that. So, it kind of spoke about the new emerging woman,” she said.
Rani says her character Rhea stood for the modern Indian woman of the time.