The blockbuster movie Mohradirected by Rajiv Rai, turned 28 on July 1. The lead cast of this film was apt, with Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Raveena Tandon and Naseeruddin Shah slipping effortlessly into their respective characters.
28 Years of Mohra EXCLUSIVE: “An actor had commented during the making of Mohra that ‘Make 50% non-heroes ko le liya hai iss film mein’. Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty were very ANGRY with this remark” – Shabbir Boxwala
Bollywood Hungama spoke exclusively with Shabbir Boxwala, his production designer and co-writer Mohra, and asked him if Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty were the initial choices. Also, there are reports that Divya Bharti was the original choice and that she had even shot for the film.
Shabbir Boxwala said, “Akshay and Suniel have always been there. Suniel was a friend. There were these hangouts called Pastry Palace and Underworld, a video arcade, on Napean Sea Road. Jackie Shroff used to come there and so did Suniel. So we all hung out. When I suggested to Rajiv that we do a film with Suniel, Rajiv suggested releasing his first film. Let’s see what are its pros and cons. Then we will plan a film with him.”
Suneil Shetty’s performances impressed Rajiv, prompting him to sign him. Shabbir Boxwala then said, “I had gone to meet Divya Bharti on his sets Waqt Hamara Hai (1993). That’s where I met Akshay. I told Rajiv that this guy is also promising. Rajiv had seen Saugandh (1991) and realized it works well for our film. So he chose to take both of them.”
However, the casting of two newbies raised eyebrows. Shabbir Boxwala revealed, “Rajiv’s father had worked with some big stars. He was very unhappy about the casting. He asked us,Dono son actors kaun hai?’. The whole distribution office was wondering “what is wrong with Rajiv? Why is he making this film with debutants? Rajiv’s father then insisted that “Tum dono ne Divya Bharti presents and thi. Usko toh le lo film my”.”
Revealing how Divya Bharti signed Mohra, Shabbir Boxwala said, “Rajiv was not keen on casting Divya. She was very upset when she learned that she had not been offered Mohra. He came to the office and asked, “How can I not be there in this movie?” So he got on board.”
He continued, “We shot with Divya Bharti for 5 days. I think it was from March 1st to March 5th, 1993. And on April 5th he passed away. They called me at 2 in the morning. I was shocked to hear of her loss. I immediately went to the hospital.”
Raveena Tandon stepped into the shoes of the late actress and the scenes were shot once again. Shabbir Boxwala said, “When we returned to Belgaum to shoot at the same location and stayed in the same hotel, it felt very eerie for all of us as the memory of Divya was still fresh.”
Mohra It eventually emerged as the second biggest hit of 1994. Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty were loved by the masses. And imagine that this was a movie where people had doubts about the casting of the main characters! Shabbir Boxwala signed off revealing a trivia, “An actor had commented during its creation Mohra thatI am doing 50% non-heroes ko le liya hai iss film my‘. Akshay and Suniel were very angry with this remark.”
Read also: “When Anand Bakshi told Rajiv Rai about ‘Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast’, we thought it will look cheap. However, Anand ji explained, “Yeh toh daaru ki bottle ke upar gaana hai” – Shabbir Boxwala
More Pages: Mohra Box Office Collection
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