“Venkateswara..You are not a God..You are just a stone idol..I have come all the way from Hyderabad, with my family,to Your holy abode to seek Your blessings for success in my Bollywood project and You cheat me like this and stab me so brutally in my back when am in prayers right at Your Lotus feet.on the sacred Tirumala hills..
This is not fair my Lord..I don’t deserve this pain..I don’t trust You any more..You are not there for me.. Tell me…How do I face the world now..??..How do I face the media..??..How do I face my innocent wife and my two cute daughters..??..Above all how do I face my beloved Dad who is on cloud nine now seeing his son’s name everywhere..
My lord..I shall never again in my life step on the Tirumala Hills..I shall never visit Your temple again..I do not even utter your name in my life..How can you do this to me..What should I tell the legendary Amitabh Bachchan who is ready to do this film with me..??..This is not fair..Not fair..Not fair..Not fair at all..”
I was screaming loudly,sitting heart broken in the office room of my penthouse in Tarnaka in Hyderabad in April 2006,looking at the computer screen in front of me..It was about 10 am in the morning on that fateful day..
My wife came running into the room..Looking worriedly at me,she asked,”..what happened..??..”..I have silently shown her the email that was open in front of me on my desktop..
That was an email sent by my beloved friend and Bollywood writer,Ahsan Hyder..That mail was showing an agreement between T-series,a leading film production house and music company in Mumbai and the Creative Commercials,a leading film production house in Hyderabad..PERIOD
Why did I feel heart broken looking at the agreement between those two major production houses.. ??.. How am I connected with it..??..What did Lord Venkateswara do to me in this regard..What is this heart breaking true story all about..??
To know all that,beloved readers,please go through my pain filled story
With my vast experience in the field of advertising and television industry,I have earned a good name for myself as an extremely talented creative director with enormous knowledge and command on all the twenty four crafts related to film making..
Although I have received many offers from both Bollywood and the Telugu film industry,to direct films,I have however refused them gently because they were small films and I very clearly know they would take me nowhere..
Even otherwise I was not very keen on directing a film those days because I already had some important commitments in the TV industry…In a way I was also a contented man leading a simple life with my family in Hyderanad..
So an so so forth was my life going on until one day..
My beloved friend Ghantasala Ratnakumar,son of legendary South Indian film playback singer Sri Ghantasala Venkateswar Rao,called me and asked me whether it would be convenient for me to join him for lunch that day in the Jubilee Hills club in Hyderabad..
I was not aware that moment,that it was going to be a life changing day for me..I said okay and joined him for lunch..
(For those of you who do not know,Ratnakumar is a well known artist,singer and a leading dubbing artist in the South Indian film industry today…I always consider him my elder brother ever since we worked together in a TV serial directed by me..He acted in that serial..He very openly told me during that shoot “it’s a great pleasure working with an young and talented director like you”)
After lunch,in the Jubilee hills club,Ratnakumar and myself started discussing about latest film trends.. Then our discussion turned to Rajnikanth’s super hit Tamil – Telugu film ‘Chandramukhi’ which I have just viewed the previous night..
Quite interestingly,he told me something at that moment that completely changed my life later..He said,
“..Boss (that’s how he still addresses me)..Chandramukhi is actually a remake of super hit Malayalam film “Manichitra Taazhu” in which Mohan Lal played Rajni’s character..That’s a real masterpiece by the director Fazil..I have given dubbing to Mohan Lal’s character when this film was dubbed into Telugu as “Gajjela Gurram”..
So why don’t you direct this film in it’s Hindi remake..I have seen your working style and can confidently say you are a brilliant director capable of going places..You also have very good contacts in Bollywood.. Why don’t you then try to contact someone like Sharukh Khan to do the film for you..I shall help you in introducing the Malayalam producer Appachchan for remake rights..”.
Ratnakumar’s words gave me more kick than the Beer we had during that lunch..I was very excited but at the same time nervous too..In a controlled voice,I told him..
“Guru garu (that’s how I address him) your idea is brilliant and is very exciting too but am nervous..Is it possible..It’s a game of big players..Will Sharukh work with a rank newcomer like me..??..How to take it forward..It is impossible to reach Sharukh and you know that well..I do not even have his number nor his secretary’s number.. Kya karen..”
With a kicker smile,Ratnakumar said,”Boss..I know it is impossible to reach Sharukh..But do something and reach him..As far as I know he’s a down to earth person..I also know you are a wonderful technician and we all know you are capable of directing this film..
All you have to do now is by hook or crook reach Sharukh.convey your idea to him and convince him.. That’s all…Am sure he will be convinced with your talent if he meets you..This is a lifetime opportunity boss..So don’t leave it..Just go ahead..Good luck..”
I literally went home flying,dreaming big things about my future in Bollywood..After reaching home I have immediately contacted my beloved friend,Ahsan Hyder,in Mumbai..Hyder is the ghost scripting brain behind many big Bollywood films..
In an excited tone,I told Hyder what Ratnakumar had told me..In a cool voice,he responded..”Kamaal hain Narrenji..Aap Hyderabad mein rehten hain toh aapke khayaal bhi Hyderabad mein hi phas gaye lagta hain..Where are you..??..
All the big houses of Bollywood,including Aditya Chopra and Boney Kapoor,have already started their negotiations with the producer of Malayalam for Chandrammukhi’s Hindi remake rights..You say you want to begin your efforts now..Bhool jaayiyen..Ye nahi hoga kaam..”
I was deflated..Told the same to Ratnakumar..He immediately contacted producer Appachchan’s office in Chennai and then told me,
“Boss..For sure many Bollywood producers are trying for the rights but this producer had not yet given them to anyone..I told him about you and assured him that you are capable of roping in Sharukh for this film..He is excited..Talk to his manager Sridhar immediately..Appachchan cannot speak any language other than Malayalam..Therefore,Sridhar is handling all the issues related to the rights..”
Saying so,Ratnakumar immediately gave me Sridhar’s number..Without wasting anytime I have contacted Sridhar in Chennai..Told him everything and also about the possibilities of roping in Sharuk Khan for the film..
Who will not be excited after listening about Sharukh…??..Sridhar too was excited..To my luck he was a Telugu Brahmin and was glad that am a Telugu Brahmin too..
(…Please do not mind my bringing of castes into play here,friends..Caste plays a major role in the bloody dog eating dog Indian film industry more so in the Telugu film industry..Wherever they are working in India today,the Brahmins are the most exploited people by the film industry and are always at the receiving end..Therefore these underdogs help each other whenever and wherever there’s a chance to help each other..Nothing wrong I believe)
But Sridhar said,”..Even those who are contacting me are big names who are more capable than you in roping in Sharukh..They even worked with him earlier..So how are you going to score over them..??..”
In a convincing tone,I replied,”..They are for sure big names..But Sharukh prefers to work with good technicians and not big names..Am certainly a better technician than they all are..So please wait for me.. I have already sent an sms to Sharukh..Waiting for his reply..”..
I bluffed..I need to..Honestly I did not even had Sharukh’s number that time..But Sridhar was convinced with my reply..He said,
“Okay..I shall certainly wait for you and will not allow my producer to give the rights to anyone..Of course on his own he cannot talk to anyone and only I negotiate on his behalf with everyone..Good luck in your efforts..”
“Hoorraah,,” I wanted to shout but didn’t..Disconnected the call..Then contacted Hyder in Mumbai immediately and told him everything..This time he was damn excited..
He said,”..Bahooth khoobh Narrenji..Hum sab jaante hain aap kya kaam kar skthe hain..Sharukh bhi aaj kal aap jaise technicians ke saath kaam karne ke liye bada intesrest dikha raha hain..He wants to break the shackles and is planning to work with new directors..I don’t have his number but will get it for you in half an hour..Aap befikar rahiye..”
Exactly within half an hour Hyder called me and gave me Sharukh Khan’s personal mobile number and told me,”Ye math poochiye ye number mujhe kahan se milaa..Bas ye sochiye aap vuse kaisa spin daalna hain..Think carefully and sms him..He will get back to you..Good luck..”
(That is my beloved Hyder for you friends..Any number in Bolywood,I would ask him,he used to get it in minutes for me..That is his love for me not because am his good friend but because he has such belief in my capabilities as a director..)..PERIOD
Later,I have carefully drafted a message and sent it to Sharukh Khan..I felt great relief after I found that my message was delivered to Sharukh’s number..From the next moment I started waiting for his reply.. Minutes passed; hours passed; and days passed too..
But there was no reply from Sharukh..
Since you can imagine how I must have spent those days in waiting for the reply,I shall not write about my agony those days,here..
Pressure started mounting on me from Sridhar because he was being pressurized by his boss who in turn was being pressurized by the Bollywood producers..One after the other I told a few stories to Sridhar and he in turn told them to his boss..
But out of love for me,whom he had never seen in his life before,Sridhar started waiting for me on my assurance..On my request he even started avoiding calls from Bollywood..Still there’s no response from Sharukh..Will he or will he not..???..I was nervous..At one stage I had even given up completely..
Finally on one Sunday,the 17th of July,2005..
I was playing Cricket with with my friends at the Sports Coaching Foundation grounds in Masab Tank in Hyderabad..I was batting and at the non striker’s end that time..Suddenly,I heard an sms message tone on my mobile phone which at that time was in my right side pocket..
I just ignored it thinking that it must be some stupid joke forwarded by some of my friends..I forgot it there..Later after the game was over.I have very casually checked that message..
My heart literally stopped when I found that it was from Sharukh..With my eyes popping out,I read the message..Couldn’t believe what I have read..So read it again..Then I understood what it was..
This was what Sharukh had written in that sms..”..”hi..this is s r k..regarding ur remake etc; u could contact my secretary sushma on ————- and fix up a meeting..sorry about the delayed response..i was not in town..thanks..”(I still have this mobile and this message with me and this was exactly what Sharukh had written in that..)
I jumped and danced and ran all over the ground..My friends thought I have gone mad..I immediately rushed home and called one by one (Ratnakumar,Hyder and Sridhar) and informed them all about Sharukh’s reply..They were extremely happy and wished me good luck..
I don’t remember how many Beers I have consumed that night..My wife and my two beloved daughters were immensely happy seeing me in such great spirits..I couldn’t sleep that night..
Next morning at about 12.30,I called Ms.Sushma..(It’s a crime to call anyone before that in Bollywood.. That is when the day begins for many)..Introducing myself I told her about the message I received from Sharukh..
With a little surprise in her voice,she said,”O Narren..You received an sms from Sharukh..Am surprised.. He very rarely responds to messages..That is what many including Kajol complain about..Anywayz I shall check with him and get back to you..”
The same evening,at about 9 pm,Ms.Sushma called me and said,”Narren..I checked with Sharukh..He wants to meet you at 5 pm on 22nd (July,2005) at his residence….Is that okay with you..”..”Absolutely okay Sushmaji..Please confirm..” I told her..
On the morning of the great day of Friday,the 22nd of July,2005
I landed in Mumbai airport and headed straight to my another close friend Mahesh Mistry’s house in Ekta Bhoomi gardens in Borivali East..Mahesh is a renowned editor and had edited a number of popular Star,Sony and Zee TV serials..
He knows about my meeting with Shahrukh and insisted that I stay in his flat and not in any hotel on that occasion..He also requested me to take him along with me to Sharukh’s house if I have no problem.. Since Hyder was in Delhi that time I said okay to Mahesh Mistry whom I very fondly call “Mahesh Bhai”..
Just to make sure that we are at Sharukh’s residence on time,myself and Mahesh bhai had an excellent Gujarathi lunch early in the afternoon and at about 2,30 started at Borivili in Mahesh bhai’s car..Since both of us know well how bad Mumbai traffic can sometimes be,we started two and half hours in advance..
Both of us thought,”however worst the traffic on highway might be,it shouldn’t take more than two hours for us to reach Sharukh’s house,Mannat,in Bandra bandstands..”..
But Nature thought otherwise..
It was a bright and Sunny afternoon until we crossed Khandivili and Goregaon but while we were just crossing Jogeshwari,the blue skies suddenly turned dark and it started raining heavily and very heavily indeed..Until then we were only worried about the unpredictable Mumbai traffic but not about it’s unpredictable weather..
Those who are living in Mumbai or someone like me who visit it often know pretty well how bad the roads can turn into when it rains heavily in Mumbai..There will be water and water everywhere on the roads ..This water literally paralyzes traffic and halts it completely..
Same thing happened to us on that day..We were stranded in heavy traffic and a heavier rain on the highway in Andheri East..I begged Mahesh Bhai to do some thing and move ahead..Saying,”main kuch jugaad karta hoon”,he had literally flown the car in the air and could finally take it up to Juhu Centaur hotel..
It was 4.45 p m that time..
Looking at the traffic ahead of us and looking so much of water all around our car,I literally went mad and crazy..We realized we cannot reach Bandra even after an hour..Didn’t understand what to do..I thought “..a lifetime opportunity is going waste in such a tragic way..”
However,out of desperation,called Ms.Sushma and said,”Sushmaji,am sorry..We are struck up in heavy traffic and rain in Juhu..Can you please request Sharukh to wait for us and accommodate us..”
With clear anger in her tone,Sushmaji said,”Hello..You are meeting Sharukh Khan..Do you know that..?? ..Can’t you start a few minutes in advance..??..”
In a requesting voice,I said”Sushmaji..We started at 2.30 from Borivili..But what can we do if it rains so suddenly..Please do something..”
Still with a little irritation in her voice,she said,”Okay..Let me try..But not sure..Will call back..”..Within two minutes she called me back and said “He didn’t pick my call..Someone who picked the call said he’s undergoing physiotherapy treatment for his back pain..That will easily go for another two hours..So go ahead..He doesn’t have any other appointments for the day..Good luck..”
With a great relief we smiled and could finally reach Sharukh’s Mannat residence at about 6.45 pm..It was still very heavily raining outside..Without caring for it,myself and Mahesh bhai crossed the road, after getting down from the car,and ran towards the main gate of Mannat..
In the meantime,we were fully drenched in rain..The huge gates of Mannat were closed and when we knocked on them,the security guards opened them and asked us who we are..When I told them I have an appointment with Sharukh,they checked the register and allowed us inside..
Finally and finally indeed we walked into Sharukh’s house..
After reaching the entrance,we were shocked to see a beautiful idol of Lord Ganesh tastefully decorated with many bright oil lamps lighted in front of it..Then we realized that Gauri,Sharukh’s wife,must have placed that idol there..
On entering the house,we were received by a lady who offered us towels to clean up our wet hair..She told us,
“Baithiye..He will come in a few minutes.. He’s undergoing physio treatment right now..Looks like both of you are fully drenched in rain..Dry your hair first..In the meantime,I shall organize for some hot soup for you..”..
After about ten minutes,piping hot soup was served to us..
And after about fifteen minutes of time,the king of Bollywood; the badshah of millions of Hindi film fans all over the world; and the heartthrob of hundreds of thousands of girls all over India and abroad,the great King Khan,Sharukh Khan walked in ..
Please Click Here to read “Why Did Lord Venkateswara Prevent Me From Directing Shahrukh Khan’s Film – Part Two”..
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