Anupam Kher could have been one of the actors in filmmaker Kundan Shah's 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro' but his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. At a session remembering actor Om Puri and director Kundan Shah at the ongoing Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival, the people associated with the cult 1983 film revisited memorable behind-the-scene stories.
Puri died in January this year while Shah passed away earlier this month. Satish Kaushik, who wrote the dialogues and also featured in the film, revealed Kher played a villain, “Disco Killer”, but the part was not included in the final edit of the movie. "There was a character called 'Disco Killer'. It was played by Anupam Kher. He had an eye sight problem, so he shoots at a man but it hits a mango. When he is told that a mango fell, he laughs and says, 'Next time when I aim for a mango, a man will fall!'" he stated. Filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who was the production controller on the film, said he was the one to break the news to Kher. "I told Anupam, 'Your role is cut'. He said, 'Please, don't cut it too much'. I said, 'No, it has been cut'. He asked, 'How much of it has been cut?' I told him 'The entire role has gone from the film'," Chopra said.
Director Vijay Krishna Acharya, who helmed 'Dhoom 3', began his career as an assistant to Kundan Shah on 'Kabhi Ha Kabhi Na'. He revealed that Kher almost cried when he got to know that he was no longer a part of 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro'. Apart from Kher, there were "several other things" which did not make it to the film, such as a sentimental song called "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro", out of which the title was born.
The film chronicled the story of two photographers (played by Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani), employed by a newspaper editor to expose the scandalous activities of a rich builder. They accidentally end up photographing a murder.
Recalling the premiere night, Kaushik said they thought they would be treated like "big stars" but that did not happen. "On the premiere night, we thought we will be big stars. We went to Maratha Mandir — the first NFDC film was having a premiere. We thought we will be welcomed with a red carpet," he said. Instead, Kundan was standing outside with tickets in his hands. When we came and said, 'Let's go, he was like first pay for the tickets I bought!'," Kaushik said.
Director Sudhir Mishra, who wrote the story and the screenplay of the film, revealed that Om Puri accepted his role without even reading the script. "He (Puri) was at Bandra station going for a shoot. Kundan narrated him the script on the train. He agreed to do the film without even reading the script. On the last day during the 'Mahabharat' scene, he told us, 'yaar ye toh achchi script hai' (Yaar, this is a good script)," Mishra said.
Ranjit Kapoor, also a dialogue writer on 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro', said there was a follow-up scene after the iconic sequence where Puri has a conversation with the dead body. "There was another scene after Puri gives the dead body a lift where he plays chess with the dead body! The funny thing is, the dead body wins! It was our favourite scene," he recalled. Despite being a part of the script, the scene was never shot.
Apart from being the production controller, Chopra also doubled up as Dushaasan in the Mahabharata scene, which is considered to be one of the major highlights of the movie. Chopra revealed that he was never meant to be in the film and it was purely accidental.
"There was an actor I selected for the role and had agreed to pay him Rs 500 for the four-day shoot. He thought it was Rs 500 per day. Just before shooting, he wanted Rs 2,000. I tried to bargain, that take 1,500 or 1,000, but he didn't agree. Then the costume came and I was like, 'Give it to me'," Chopra exclaimed.