Feel sad that `Jane Bhi...` is still relevant: Kundan Shah

Mumbai: Saying that corruption, an exception at one time has now become a rule, the director of `Jane Bhi Do Yaro` said that he feels sad that his 1983 film is still relevant.

"What is shown in the film was an exception then, now it has become more than a rule," said Shah, speaking at Mumbai Press Club`s film club yesterday evening.

The film, which is a dark comedy on the nexus between bureaucrats and builders in Mumbai, went on to become a "cult" film.

"It is still relevant...I feel sad," Shah said, interacting with audience after the screening of the film.

Though the film, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani and Bhakti Barve, is celebrated for its slapstick humour, and especially for the climactic spoof on a Mahabharat situation, Shah said that he did not think it was a great film.

"I was put on a pedestal for this film....(but) Today I have come too far from it...It`s not perfect," he said. "But we are surrounded by so much mediocrity that even a semi-perfect film stands out," he said.

The film, produced by NFDC, was famously made on a shoestring budget of Rs seven lakh. "Naseer, who was like a superstar then, was paid Rs 15 thousand," Shah said.

Naseer, who knew Kundan Shah from their Film Institute days, was initially a little diffident about whether he would fit into a comic role, Shah said.

"He came to me a few days before shooting started. He was a bit hesitant...He said, `If you think that I won`t fit into the main role, I am ready to do any other role in the film`," Shah said.

Though the film earned him fame, it didn`t launch Shah`s career. "Nobody came to me after this film," he said, barring one producer who wanted to make a remake of an old Hindi film.
Shah`s next film, `Kabhi Han Kabhi Naa`, starring Shahrukh Khan, came in 1993, followed by `Kya Kehna` in 2000. But he did not express regret. "There are many who never get a single opportunity," he said.

When asked if he was working on something currently, he said, "Yes, I am working on something for last several years...!"


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