6 Bollywood Directors Take Us Behind Memorable Moments From Their Films

Shakun Batra, Ram Madhvani, Nitesh Tiwari, Abhishek Chaubey, Farah Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar give us insights into key highlights from their hit films
6 Bollywood Directors Take Us Behind Memorable Moments From Their Films

One of the joys of interviewing directors is being able to pick their brains and learn about how they came about shooting key moments in their films. In this photo series, six of the industry's top directors share insights into some memorable scenes from their films.

The father-daughter wrestling scene from Dangal (2016)

"When we conceived the scene, it was more of a private affair between Mahavir Singh Phogat and Geeta and Babita. But once we started crafting, we realised it would be nicer if it takes place in front of many more people because it will be more insulting to Geeta to be trashed in front of other kids," says director Nitesh Tiwari on the scene in which Aamir Khan and Fatima Sana Shaikh's characters confront post an argument about whose grip technique is right. "Before the shot, Aamir sir came and said that she is going to fall really hard. Once the shot was taken, he threw her down really hard and I jumped from my seat!"
"When we conceived the scene, it was more of a private affair between Mahavir Singh Phogat and Geeta and Babita. But once we started crafting, we realised it would be nicer if it takes place in front of many more people because it will be more insulting to Geeta to be trashed in front of other kids," says director Nitesh Tiwari on the scene in which Aamir Khan and Fatima Sana Shaikh's characters confront post an argument about whose grip technique is right. "Before the shot, Aamir sir came and said that she is going to fall really hard. Once the shot was taken, he threw her down really hard and I jumped from my seat!"

Mary Jane's meltdown from Udta Punjab (2016)

"When Mary Jane sees Tommy being beaten up, for reasons I would leave best unexplained, she picks up a glass bottle and starts beating those goons," says director Abhishek Chaubey on the scene in which Mary Jane (Alia Bhatt) and Tommy (Shahid Kapoor) meet for the first time. Chaubey says since hockey is a popular sport in Punjab and also used in street fights, it was natural that these guys must have gotten their sticks out to give Tommy a sound beating. "It was for this scene that we decided to make Alia's character a hockey player. Because she had to wield the hockey stick like a professional while beating them," he says.
"When Mary Jane sees Tommy being beaten up, for reasons I would leave best unexplained, she picks up a glass bottle and starts beating those goons," says director Abhishek Chaubey on the scene in which Mary Jane (Alia Bhatt) and Tommy (Shahid Kapoor) meet for the first time. Chaubey says since hockey is a popular sport in Punjab and also used in street fights, it was natural that these guys must have gotten their sticks out to give Tommy a sound beating. "It was for this scene that we decided to make Alia's character a hockey player. Because she had to wield the hockey stick like a professional while beating them," he says.

The mirror scene from Sultan (2016)

Director Ali Abbas Zafar says it took him three months during filming to convince Salman Khan to do this scene. "We were supposed to do it in the first schedule, he said he is not ready for that. Then we were supposed to do it in YRF, he said, no. By that point he had put on a lot of weight. He would say, 'Nahi jayega weight toh kya hoga?'. He was sensitive about how he was looking because Salman has never looked so out of shape," says Zafar. After he shot the first take, Khan asked Zafar whether he needed another. Zafar did not and Khan never even saw the take.
Director Ali Abbas Zafar says it took him three months during filming to convince Salman Khan to do this scene. "We were supposed to do it in the first schedule, he said he is not ready for that. Then we were supposed to do it in YRF, he said, no. By that point he had put on a lot of weight. He would say, 'Nahi jayega weight toh kya hoga?'. He was sensitive about how he was looking because Salman has never looked so out of shape," says Zafar. After he shot the first take, Khan asked Zafar whether he needed another. Zafar did not and Khan never even saw the take.

The naughty pussy scene from Om Shanti Om (2007)

Farah Khan says that the words 'naughty pussy' was improvised by Shah Rukh. "The tiger was taken from a movie called Tarzan 303. Sometimes it also pays to be fans of bad movies," she jokes. "There was something missing from the fight and I spoke to Sajid. Overnight, I asked for a stuffed tiger and it was improvised the next day."
Farah Khan says that the words 'naughty pussy' was improvised by Shah Rukh. "The tiger was taken from a movie called Tarzan 303. Sometimes it also pays to be fans of bad movies," she jokes. "There was something missing from the fight and I spoke to Sajid. Overnight, I asked for a stuffed tiger and it was improvised the next day."

The mirror match-cut in Neerja (2016)

Director Ram Madhvani says this is a match-cutting of two moments from Neerja's life – two acts of terror. "One is from the person she was married to and the other is from the terrorist. We first shot it in the plane and then when we were doing it later with the husband, we made sure that we were approximately at the same height and using the same lensing. So when the editor was editing, we would get the feeling, without anybody being told, that these are the two kind of people who are affecting her in her head," he says.
Director Ram Madhvani says this is a match-cutting of two moments from Neerja's life – two acts of terror. "One is from the person she was married to and the other is from the terrorist. We first shot it in the plane and then when we were doing it later with the husband, we made sure that we were approximately at the same height and using the same lensing. So when the editor was editing, we would get the feeling, without anybody being told, that these are the two kind of people who are affecting her in her head," he says.

The plumber scene in Kapoor and Sons (2016)

Director Shakun Batra reveals that one of the first drafts of the scene didn't have the plumber in it. "Tt started to feel very dry. I realized I needed an outsider to take the edge off the scene and bring a certain lightness to it," he says. "At a craft level I really wanted to make it look like I was documenting a real family argument. I didn't want to rely on the tools of drama, which is dramatic lighting, dramatic lensing, dramatic background music. I was very excited to break the scene down in a way that it feels like it is all happening in real time," says Batra.
Director Shakun Batra reveals that one of the first drafts of the scene didn't have the plumber in it. "Tt started to feel very dry. I realized I needed an outsider to take the edge off the scene and bring a certain lightness to it," he says. "At a craft level I really wanted to make it look like I was documenting a real family argument. I didn't want to rely on the tools of drama, which is dramatic lighting, dramatic lensing, dramatic background music. I was very excited to break the scene down in a way that it feels like it is all happening in real time," says Batra.

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