Two of a kind: When Deepti, Farooque came together...

Deepti Naval

Easy camaraderie and banter remain unchanged as Deepti Naval and Farooque Shaikh, one of the most loved pairs of the '80s, return as an on-screen couple after 25 years

Ask Farooque Shaikh what his first reaction was when he was offered a film opposite Deepti Naval, after almost 25 years, and his instant response is, "I exclaimed 'Oh my God' and jumped out of my chair in fright." On hearing this, Naval cannot hold back her laughter. She tells us, "If you want Farooque to say good things about me, you have to interview him when I am not around."

It is this camaraderie and friendly banter that made their films — Chashme Buddoor (1981), Saath Saath (1982), Katha (1983), Kisise Na Kehna (1983), Ek Baar Chale Aao (1983) and Rang Birangi (1983) immensely popular. Today, as they are all set to mark their comeback with Hema Malini's Tell Me Oh Khuda and next year with Avinash Singh's Listen Amaya, both are hopeful of striking a chord with the audience, yet again.

The opportunity of working with Shaikh was what convinced Naval to take up the role of Esha Deol's mother in Tell Me Oh Khuda. "The role isn't very powerful. I play a regular on-screen mother but Hema Maliniji told me that she wanted to recreate the nostalgia of the Deepti-Farooque team and that is what excited me," she says. Shaikh, too, cites similar reasons for doing the film. He signed it because of the credibility Hema Malini brings to the fraternity and the rapport he shares with Naval.

The news of Shaikh and Naval, now 63 and 54 respectively, coming back together brought in more offers. Soon, Singh approached them with a script where the duo will play lead actors. "We have just completed a schedule in Delhi. Right now, we are in the process of filming it," says Naval, who refuses to divulge too many details about the film.

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