Is it Divya Bharti declaring how she followed her love across seven seas in ‘Saat Samundar Paar’ or a turban-clad Naseeruddin Shah in ‘Dil Le Le Teri Bindia’ for Rajiv Rai’s film Vishwatma Told his unwavering love towards her. Released 29 years ago, it brings back memories of an era when story-songs, the spirit of good, evil and patriotism reigned in Hindi cinema. Sunny Deol, Chunky Pandey, Amrish Puri, Jyotsna Singh, Gulshan Grover were also with the cast, becoming a hit after the multi-starrer release. In an exclusive chat with ETimes, Chunky revisited the film’s shoot. Here’s what he said:
How did you feel seeing ‘Vishwatma’ released 29 years ago?This is one of my favorite movies. If i’m not mistaken it was the first Bollywood A film to be shot in Africa on such a large scale. In fact, we were the first to shoot in the Masai Mara National Reserve. Then it was very exciting to shoot in such foreign places and we were stationed there for more than two months for this film. Director Rajiv Rai shot the film on such a large scale that it became a trendsetter.
What was the shoot like?I have a lot of memories of that place. Actually I like it so much that I went there on my honeymoon too!
Still, shooting in the African jungle with such a large cast could not have been easier…(Laughs) I’ll tell you what it was like. On the first day of the shoot, we went into the jungle to shoot the song ‘Ankhon Mein Hai’, but because the unit was too big, the animals ran away from us which was not what we wanted. The next day, my co-star Jyotsna Singh and I ventured into the jungles with two small units that would shoot at us from the car as we danced around trees, with animals roaming in the background. We were tallying the steps with reckless abandon when a car of tourists wildly gestured for us to move. When we looked around, we realized that a lion and lioness had been ejected just 25 feet from where we were dancing. They were staring at us with mild curiosity, perhaps wondering what we were doing. Lucky for us, they seemed to be well fed, otherwise I would not be here to talk to you today (Chakkals).
The film also includes some big names …I had already worked with Sunny in ‘Paan Ki Duni’ but Nasir bhai and I were working for the first time. Divya Bharati was the life of the unit; There was never a dull moment around him. Then there was Gulshan Grover, who shaved a mustache for the film for the first time in his life. He was never clean-shaved because he thought that if his mustache bent, his manhood would be threatened. So, one night, while he was sleeping, I went to his room and cut half of his mustache, so he was forced to cut the other half (grain). After that, he started experimenting with his getups.
Continue …This was the time when we were shooting a scene in a hotel casino and I was wearing a uniform. When I stepped outside for smoke, a gentleman who had just arrived in his car gave me a tip, thinking that I had worked there. it was hilarious!
- Chunky Panday on 29 years of 'Vishwatma'
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