ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


Things you don't know about 'Billu'

By Aparajita Ghosh
Thu, Feb 12, 2009 22:00 IST

Shahrukh Khan Do you know that 'Billu' was first offered to Akshay Kumar before the project was taken over by Shahrukh Khan ?

Inspired from the moving tale of friendship between Krishna and Sudama, Billu Barber promises a cocktail of rustic charm with gloss and glam of Bollywood. However, the movie's director Priyadarshan first approached his favourite Akshay Kumar to act in the film. Since the role was not substantial, Akki declined the offer and that's when Priyadarshan approached SRK, who was so impressed by the script that he not just agreed to act in the film, but also produce it.

While roping in Irrfan Khan to play the titular protagonist wasn't difficult, SRK had great difficulty finding a suitable actress to play Irrfan's wife. The role was offered to Tabu , Vidya Balan , Urmila Matondkar and Amisha Patel , but none showed interest. No one apparently wanted to play a village girl who's mother to two kids. Finally, SRK got the nod from the usually glamourous Lara Dutta who agreed despite her short role.

The cast having been finalized, the onus was now on Irrfan Khan to get his character right. Being a method actor, Irrfan actually spent some time with a roadside barber to learn the skill of haircutting. Irrfan particularly wanted to learn from "a roadside barber and not a hair stylist in some posh salon" because his character Billu is a poor barber.

When SRK signed Irrfan for the role, he told him (Irrfan): "You do the acting and I'll do the dancing". Knowing well that a film with a rural setting required some glamour, SRK asked Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone to do song appearances opposite him in the film. Priyanka Chopra came on board later. Incidentally, Priyadarshan had missed out on launching Deepika in Bollywood with a film in 2006.

To shoot one song on SRK in the film, Priyadarshan made a special request to his longtime friend Santosh Sivan to wield the camera. The director wanted a particular look for the song and was certain that only Sivan could do justice to it. For another song, featuring SRK and Deepika, Priyadarshan roped in Farah Khan to do choreography. However, for the song featuring SRK and Kareena, Priyan relied on his favourite choreographer Prasanna Sujit.

Inspired from Malayalam film 'Katha Parayumbol', Billu has been penned by Mushtaq Sheikh and Priyadarshan. The film releases on February 13.

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