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3 Years Of Badhaai Ho: “Today I Miss Surekhaji More Than  Ever,” Amit Sharma

Director Amit Sharma now busy with his real-life sports drama Maidaan featuring Ajay Devgan, still remembers  every detail of the  release  of Badhaai Ho.

“It was October 18, 2018 and we were all very excited.I knew I had done my best . But we never knew it would turn out to  be such an influential  film. Even today, three years  later strangers come up to me to talk about the  it.”

What Badhaai Ho did for  Amit was  to give him the  confidence to  do what he  believed in. “After  my first film  Tevar (starring Arjun Kapoor  and Sonakshi Sinha and produced by the leading man’s father Boney Kapoor) I was determined  to make  only  the  film that I wanted  to.I was willing to wait for  as  long as it took for the right script. When   Badhaai Ho came to me I immediately  felt  connected to it. It was  a milieu I belonged to. It conveyed  sentiments and emotions that I empathized with. Yes, I wanted  to do this.”

Then began the  process of casting. “All the  other  actors  were easy to  lock in.For the role that  Neenaji did we had  originally approached Tabu. She  loved the  script. But she felt she wasn’t right for the role . In hindsight, I completely agree with her.The role of a  60-plus woman becoming pregnant had to be done by an actress  of a particular age. I had seen Neenaji in   short  film called Khujli with Jackie Shroff. I knew she was  right  for the part.However  Ayushmann Khurrana  felt Neenaji was too hot to play a  housewife .But I could see  my character beyond  the hotness.”

Badhaai Ho changed  the  destiny of everyone connected  with the  film,  most of all Neena Gupta.

Says Amit,  “I am so glad this film did it for her. She  deserves  every  of the  success that she’s now seeing. Every member of the cast contributed to the  film’s success. Surekha Sikriji was special to  all  of us. Today I miss her  more than ever.”

Badhaai Ho opened an important  debate  on late pregnancy.

Amit would like to  clarify that it wasn’t his  intention to propagate  late pregnancies. “We were not  urging couples to have babies after a certain  age. But if it happens, and if the mother-to-be is biologically  fit ,  it should not be  seen as a shocker. Badhaai Ho was not about having babies after 60. It was about denying elderly couples  the right to  intimacy. My  biggest moment  of  triumph was when an Aunty came to me and said, ‘I watched  your film  holding my husband’s hand.’ Why do we frown on intimacy among  people of our parent’ age group?”

Amit knows  the world  awaits a sequel to Badhaai Ho, and he is  not  saying no.

“As soon as  I get a  good story idea to  carry the characters  forward  I will do it,” promises Amit.

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