Abbas Tyrewala

Do you know that it was a writer’s block that prompted Abbas Tyrewala to switch from writing to direction in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na ?

For months, Tyrewala says, he stared at the blank screen of his computer and still he couldn’t overcome the writer’s block that happened to him for the first time after more than a decade of regular writing during which he penned dialogues for films like Munnabhai MBBS and Salaam Namastey . Stuck in a deadlock, Tyrewala decided it was time for transition and that was the beginning of his journey to direction.

He had the script of ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ ready. The next task was to get some big producer and a good debutant on board. Abbas found them in Jhamu Sughand and Imran Khan . But Sugandh was going through some kind of financial crisis in those days. When the film failed to take off for a long time, Aamir Khan called Abbas to know the status of the film. Knowing that the film was probably going to be shelved, Aamir called in Abbas and Imran for a script narration.

It was a heart-wrenching experience for Abbas and Imran to narrate the script to Aamir. They both knew that if Aamir did not like the script, he wouldn’t produce the film regardless of the fact that his nephew Imran was to make his acting debut in it. For two hours, Abbas narrated the script to Aamir. But Aamir gave no reaction. Not a single nod or smile of approval. After two hours, Aamir got up and went out for a meeting, while Abbas and Imran waited with heavy hearts. After an hour, Aamir walked back in and said: “when do you want to begin shooting.”

But Aamir, being the perfectionist that he is, was still not satisfied. After agreeing to produce the film, he asked Abbas to test shoot a few scenes and show them to him. Abbas did so happily and got a big nod of approval from Aamir.

However, there were other hitches. Those were the days when Aamir was busy shooting his Taare Zameen Par and had no time to look after the production of ‘Jaane Tu’. So he recalled his cousin Mansoor Khan (who directed films like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander ) from his self-chosen hibernation to oversee the production of ‘Jaane Tu’.

Contrary to rumours, Aamir never interfered during the shooting of ‘Jaane Tu’. Rather, he left every decision related to the film on to Mansoor and Abbas.

Originally, Abbas wanted to rope in a new girl opposite Imran. But when he saw Genelia D’Souza , he knew she was perfect for the part. “She had an exuberance and a freshness that the character needed,” says Abbas.

‘Jaane Tu’ is a love story set in a college campus. Naseeuddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah play Imran’s parents in the film. In fact, Ratna has been given the same look in the film as Imran’s mother Nuzhat Khan.

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