The trailer of director Shelly Chopra Dhar’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga stunned the audience with its theme. The film stars Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Juhi Chawla.
The film sees Anil Kapoor and Chawla reuniting on the big screen after more than 10 years. Their last film together was Nikkhil Advani’s Saleem-e-Ishq (2007).
Chawla believes Kapoor has not changed in all these years. “Nothing much has changed,” she remarked at an event to do with the film recently. “He is the same. He will go through 25 rehearsals. He will do the take until we get it perfectly. He is just as hard-working and committed.”
Asked what she looks for these days before agreeing to do a film, Chawla said she has always looked for a great script. “If it is enjoyable when I am listening to it, if it is holding my attention and has a nice ending… you spend two hours listening to something, so you want a good ending. Even as an audience you feel cheated if it doesn’t [have a good ending],” she said.
Chawla revealed that the makers had written her character in Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga with her in mind: “Vinodji [producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra] said, ‘When we were writing this film and role, we thought Juhi will play it.’ I thought that was wonderful, as it is tailormade for me. After hearing the script, I felt this was one of the most fantastic scripts I have ever had. It’s perfectly blended. It’s an unfamiliar story told in a very familiar way.”
That was enough for her to decide to take up the role. “There was no question [of turning the role down],” she said. “When the negotiations were going on, I said no matter how [hard] you negotiate, only I am doing this role! The role suits me so well. Why would I let something so well written go?”
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga sees Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and father Anil together in a film for the first time. Interestingly, they play daughter and father on screen too.
Chawla found their behaviour on the sets funny. “The amusing part for me was to see him and Sonam on the sets together,” she said. “It was cute to see her sometimes bully him. But otherwise she is very attentive and caring towards him.”
Chawla recalled one incident when Ahuja walked off the sets at 3am as the weather was too chilly. “Shellyji looked at Anil. But he said, ‘I can’t do anything. Don’t tell me.’ It was very sweet for him to say ‘she is an adult. I can’t tell her anything’,” said the actress.
Chawla said a lot has changed in the film industry in terms of the technology. But some things will always remain the same. “Even today if the script is not right it won’t work, no matter how much money and hard work you put in,” she remarked. Her fast friend and long-time collaborator Shah Rukh Khan has just rediscovered this truism.
Apart from Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, Chawla has signed a family film with Rishi Kapoor, to be directed by first-timer Hitesh Bhatia. But the shooting has been held up because Kapoor had to proceed to the US for treatment. “I was supposed to start shooting in October,” she said. “Then he had to go for his check-ups.”