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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Coolie No 1: Varun & Sara Open Up On Bollywood’s Amazon Prime Video Release

Written and directed by David Dhawan Coolie No.1 is a remake of the 1995 comedy of the same name.

It tells the story of a matchmaker, Jai Kishen (Jaaved Jaaferi) upon being insulted by Rosario, a rich businessman decides to teach him a lesson by getting his daughter (Sara Ali Khan) married to Raju (Varun Dhawan), a Coolie, who poses to be a millionaire.

They sense something fishy and Raju’s deceptions are discovered. In an attempt to cover it up, he cooks up a story of having a filthy rich twin. One lie leads to another and things start to go awry culminating in a comedy of errors.

With Amazon Prime Video keeping audiences eagerly waiting for the release of Coolie No.1, streaming tomorrow, Sara and Varun speak about their upcoming release.

To what extent will audiences experience the 90s flavour in the remake?

V: So many years have passed and there are new audiences who haven’t seen the original film.

I understand that with a remake, there will be ‘why are you remaking?’, but with the original Coolie No.1, the performances are out of this world and the screenplay is very interesting.

A comedy of errors that was there is still in this film, we tried keeping that timing and the screenplay is still there.

In the original, Karisma Kapoor’s character had a particular style from that time, so how did you incorporate your style into the character you are playing in the new version?

S: I tried my best, I don’t know how much, but just like Varun said, our director is the same, but what Govindaji and Karisma ma’am have done, we don’t want to make fun out of them.

I don’t even think that can happen. We got as much advice from them as we could and whatever David sir wanted us to do, we did.

So, I don’t think we took the pressure of making a ‘remake’, but we have presented our characters in a new and original way.

One of the highlights of the original Coolie No.1 is obviously the songs. How would you summarise the sentiment of recreating the experience of chartbusters like Husn Hain Suhana and Mirchi Lagi?

S: I want to tell you that I had a lot of fun. This is my second film with Ganesh (Acharya, Choreographer), sir.

I think that the way the 90s flavour, whether it’s getting a flashback from the trailer or from listening to the songs.

I don’t think that David (Dhawan, Director) sir or Ganesh sir’s bond is better than anyone in the 90s. For me, the 90s is David Dhawan and Ganesh Acharya.

Back in the 90s, there was a high of ‘escapist comedy’ among the common man – they enjoyed those films, but we’re seeing a decline in it, with increasing realism in web series, OTT content, etc.

Do you think David Dhawan’s type of film should come back – even though times have changed and progressed?

V: There should also be an evolution in every industry and you have to adapt to that. What’s in the past, you shouldn’t repeat it.

What we did in Coolie No.1 it’s not going to be the same as we have new elements, new emotions that we explored which hopefully people will still find funny in 2020.

S: I genuinely feel like this is a timeless genre. There’s nothing time specific about sitting with your family and laughing.

So that’s why I think that especially with this year, Coolie No. 1 will and should be the start of funny films and shows.

Have you had any funny memories while shooting that you would like to share with our readers?

S: Varun is very naughty on set. He’s focused but he does funnier things. I can’t remember one memory. He has a constructive naughtiness.

He always jokes with everyone and you never know if you’re shooting. He’s always positive to shoot with.

V: Working with Sara, I realised that I tell her things that I used to do. But now, I feel as an actor, there is a rediscovery.

I realise that in every shot, she wants to give 100%. Whenever I felt that I was out of sorts, Sara would bring me back.

Coolie No.1 streams on Amazon Prime Video from 25th December.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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