“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.