Actress Gauhar Khan as neo-Helen in ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’

Actress Gauhar Khan will be seen as neo-Helen in ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ directed by Milan Luthria. Raju Khan has been brought to do the choreography for what’s touted as the most expensive cabaret ever shot in Bollywood. Gauhar danced to the beats of ‘Piya tu ab to aaja’ so hard last week that a shard of shattered glass wounded her leg.

February 23, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Actress Gauhar Khan will be seen as neo-Helen in ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ directed by Milan Luthria. Raju Khan has been brought to do the choreography for what’s touted as the most expensive cabaret ever shot in Bollywood. Gauhar danced to the beats of ‘Piya tu ab to aaja’ so hard last week that a shard of shattered glass wounded her leg.

The cat is out of the bag. Ekta Kapoor and her director Luthria were looking for a neo-Helen for the longest time. The original plan of discovering a completely untried dancer failed as time was running out. They’ve finally zeroed in on Gauhar Khan who has been secretly jiving away to Helen’s most popular cabaret ‘Piya tu ab to aaja’ for Luthria’s ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’.

The director and her excited producer intend to unveil their new-age Helen and the prized recreation of the smoldering cabaret number from the 1970s at an elaborate press conference later this month.

But the behind-the-scenes stress and arguments to get this cabaret item in place are even more interesting than the cabaret itself. Apparently the composer Pritam Chakraborty refused to do a straight re-mix of ‘Piya to ab to aaja’. There were heated arguments between the composer and the film’s producer and director over the issue.

Finally Pritam got his way and recorded a totally new version of the song. Says Pritam, “I really see no point in doing a straight-off remix, especially when it’s an R D Burman track. That means the original is still fresh in the listeners’ mind. Why should I tamper with an evergreen? So what I’ve done for Milan’s cabaret is to incorporate just a bit of RD’s ‘Piya to ab to aaja’ from ‘Caravan’ and ‘Duniya mein logon ko’ from ‘Apna Desh’. The rest of the song is my original composition.”

Apparently when Gauhar Khan heard the song she flipped out. Laughs Pritam, “Yes they all loved the song. But I won’t do a re-mix of R D Burman or any other composition.” Rohan Sippy’s Abhishek Bachchan-featured drug-busting Goan drama has a hitch. Composer Pritam Chakraborty is aghast to hear that Rohan Sippy has titled his film ‘Dum Maro Dum’ and that the makers would like him to do a remix of the number.

Pritam vigorously says, “Like I said I don’t do remixes, ever. And certainly not re-mixes of R.D. Burman compositions. RD has taken his songs as far as they can go. There’s nothing more that I or anyone else can do to an R.D Burman track. So I’ll just use RD’s famous opening riff from ‘Dum maro dum’. The rest of the composition will be mine. In any case this will be an instrumental piece for the credit titles in ‘Dum Maro Dum’.”

Earlier Pritam refused to do the re-mix of ‘Aa dekhe zara’ for Neil Nitin Mukesh. “See I won’t do re-mixes anyway. But if it’s an R D Burman song like ‘Piya tu ab to aaja’, ‘Dum maro dum’ or ‘Aa dekhe zara’ then sawaal hi nahin paida hota hai. Unless I can re-work a riff or a couple of riffs into my own composition like I did with the ‘been’ music from ‘Nagin’ in ‘Love Aaj Kal’.”

In fact Pritam didn’t even know Sippy’s film was titled ‘Dum Maro Dum’. Apparently the other title being seriously considered was ‘Subah Ko Karo Salaam’. Says Pritam, “Even that would’ve been a problem to compose since R.D Burman had done a fabulous job of those words ‘Subah Ko Karo Salaam’ in a TV serial of that title.”

-Subhash K Jha/ Sampurn Wire

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