A con game


Lalitha Mahal is perfect as it is stately. It looks like a rich man's home. Though it's expensive to shoot here, but it's worth it as I don't believe in cutting corners

Sunil Agnihotri, director

Comfortably nestling in a lush green forest on the outskirts of Mysore, is Lalitha Mahal Palace hotel. Once home to the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore, Jai Krishna Rajawade, it has now been converted into a luxurious hotel. These days, however, it's playing home to a wealthy man (Anupam Kher) in Sunil Agnihotri's directorial venture, Balwinder Singh...Famous Ho Gaya. When we entered the mahal, we spotted Kher, dressed in a pastel coloured dhoti kurta, facing the camera, with singer Mika Singh, who's making a debut as an actor in the film, standing behind him with an aarti thali in his hand.

As soon as the director said 'action', Mika tapped Kher on the shoulder. When the actor turned around, Singh softly said, " Dadaji aarti lelo," to which Kher looks surprised and retorts, while bowing his head for the tilak, "Arre, subah subah puja?" After about four takes, the scene is canned.

Kher then joined us for a brief conversation. Explaining the context of the scene, he says that his grandson in the film had gone missing when he was about a year old. However, 25 years later he learns that his grandson is alive and goes by the name Balwinder Singh. "I put an ad in the paper for my grandson, and over 100 Balwinder Singhs land up at my doorstep. Mika and Shaan are among those conmen, eyeing my wealth. What you've just seen being shot is Mika trying to impress me by pretending to be a very pious man," informs Kher, adding that Shaan too tries the same trick.

... contd.

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