Renuka Shahane: The Complete Woman

 

The popularity that I got with Surabhi sealed the deal and I never went back to my PhD. At that time I got the offer for a Gujarati film called Hun Hunshi Hunshilal, directed by Sanjeev Shah & produced by Sanjeev Shah and NFDC, where I played a mysterious, romantic lead to Dilip Joshi’s Hunshi. I then received an offer for the Telugu feature film called Money, which was directed by Siva Nageshwar Rao under Ram Gopal Varma’s banner. Haach Sunbaicha Bhau came after both these films. Immediately after that I got the epic offer of the blockbuster Hum Aapke Hain Koun and both Surabhi and Hum Aapke Hain Koun have been my most remembered and loved works.

And then Hum Aapke Hain Kaun – the blockbuster that brought you up and close to becoming a mega star – do talk about the experience and also what it did for you as a person as well as a professional?

Hum Aapke Hain Koun was shot over a period of two years 1992-93. We shot for a total of 150 days. The experience of shooting it was one of the most exciting ones for me. I got to work with huge stars like Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan. I got to work with Soorajji and Rajshri Productions. Soorajji knew I was very keen on directing. He allowed me to be a part of his discussions with his assistants of the mise-en-scene of every day.

He is the stuff legends are made of. The amount of discipline, eye for detail and characterizations in the film really taught me a lot. As an actor it was a dream debut to have in Hindi. I couldn’t have got a better role, co-actors, director and producer. And the best part was how much people loved our film, and still do. It is so gratifying to be a part of a film that has made history, established many records and more than anything else continues to entertain audiences even today. It is a huge blessing to be a part of such an iconic film.

As a person what I learnt from Soorajji and Raj Babuji holds me in good stead even today. Professionally, I couldn’t have asked for a better calling card. I keep getting new fans as newer generations view the film and fall in love with it. And with the very creative memes being made of Pooja rolling down the stairs, that scene, and with it, I have been kept alive in the audience’s memory in a very different way.