The trailers and songs of the upcoming comic caper Pagalpanti are on air and have generated excitement. It has an ensemble star cast of John Abraham, Anil Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Pulkit Samrat, Kriti Kharbanda, Ileana DCruz, Urvashi Rautela and Saurabh Shukla, which has also added to the hype. However, if you are expecting it to be a mindless comedy, then you are very much mistaken.
In an interview to an entertainment daily, John Abraham blurted that the film touches upon the “Fugitives who have escaped our country after looting our banks and robbing thousands of middle-class people of their savings”! And instantly, the question that has come in people’s minds is: Is Pagalpanti inspired by the lives of Kingfisher Airlines owner Vijay Mallya and diamantaire Nirav Modi, both of whom similarly ran away from India after duping banks?
When Bollywood Hungama quizzed Pagalpanti director Anees Bazmee about Nirav-Mallya connection, the hit filmmaker said, “Aise toh bahut log gaye hai na desh chod ke. So we have hinted in a way about them. But yeah, in logon ki (Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi) ki yaad toh zarur aayegi film dekh ke logon ko.”
Not just that, John Abraham in the same interview also called Pagalpanti a ‘weirdly patriotic’ film. Anees Bazmee agreed that and said that infusing patriotism in such film was no cakewalk. He states, “It was a very big challenge. Patriotism is a serious matter whereas my film’s genre is the exact opposite. It took me a lot of time. It’s one of the very important scenes in the film which will give goose bumps to every Indian. At the same time, it’ll also make you laugh! It is a one of its kind sequence. I don’t think any other film has had such a scene ever!”
Over the years, John Abraham has been known for nationalistic films. Some of his biggest hits in recent times like Parmanu, Satyameva Jayate and Batla House all had the element of love for our country. So was this said portion added because of John Abraham’s casting? Anees, at this, clarifies, “This scene was not written because of John Abraham’s presence in the film. He wanted the film to be completely funny. But when we thought of this patriotic scene, he and all the other actors loved it. They even told me ‘Anees bhai, this is a completely new take. We have seen many films but this kind of logic and writing is unheard of.’ The idea is to praise the greatness of our country and if some people have escaped from India, then how to make them realize their fault.”
Anees Bazmee then explains how he thought of this scene, “I remember I was in Lonavala with my team of writers and we were trying to crack the script. It was around 12:30 or 1 am when suddenly I got this thought. I was so happy. When I narrated it to my colleagues, they were pleasantly surprised. Some however were sceptical as to how it would be incorporated in the film. It took me around 2-3 days to fine tune it and finally it became a part of the script.”
Anees Bazmee then further adds, “In my earlier film Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998), I had conceived a scene wherein Ajay Devgn tells Kajol to close her eyes and imagine a happy future with guy she wants to desperately marry, Bijay Anand. But when Kajol closes her eyes, she instead sees Ajay Devgn. She gets surprised as she had not yet realized that she loves Ajay Devgn. 21 years ago, it was a very unique scene because from what I have observed, there’s someone out there who always makes you realize something important, which you might not notice. I remember even Ajay and Kajol were amazed with the scene and they had told me, ‘Yaar Anees bhai, sirf aap hi aisa soch sakte ho’! I then saw a similar kind of a scene in couple of big films too. Similarly, this patriotic scene of Pagalpanti is also in the same zone as one character makes another character realize something and at the same time, its novel!”