Tum Bin turns 20: John Abraham’s “very bad” hearing, Bhushan Kumar’s call at 3 a.m. to director Anubhav Sinha
It was an ordinary night for Anubhav Sinha. He was busy shooting a music video, when T-series owner Bhushan Kumar called him at 3 a.m. and asked him to make a movie for his company. It was to be Sinha’s Bollywood debut, even though he had directed TV shows and music videos. This offer, however, was different.
“Bhushan Kumar had finished watching one of the clips I delivered to him. He loved it and asked me if I wanted to make a movie. I said that’s why I came to Mumbai, ”Sinha recalls.
All Sinha had was a plot idea – if you saw an accident and the cell phone near the corpse rang, would you answer that? “It was the genesis of the story, with three boys and a girl.”
Tum Bin was a first for most of his cast and crew. While this was Anubhav Sinha’s first directorial endeavor, it was also Bhushan Kumar’s first production, after he took over the T-series following the death of his father, Gulshan Kumar. Next, the four newbie lead actors – Sandali Sinha, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Himanshu Malik, and Raqesh Bapat, who were cast, some through auditions and others due to their previous collaboration with Sinha.
Raqesh, who won Grasim Mr India, was barely 20 when he landed the role of Amar. He told indianexpress.com that being the youngest most of the crew were worried except Ratnaa Sinha, wife of Anubhav Sinha. “During the audition, they made me stay with Sandali for 2-3 hours. We were like guinea pigs, watched, ”he recalls.
Sandali, for her part, said she was a carefree person in real life, but was forced to cry during her audition. The scene in question was when Pia is heartbroken and Abhigyan proposes marriage. “I told them, don’t you have another scene?” Sandali, however, said she liked the role because despite her distress, Pia is a strong girl. “She looked a lot like me, with similar ways,” she said.
Sinha further shared that they tested several high-end models he had filmed music videos with, including John Abraham. “I remember walking into the hearing room and John leaving. I asked him how it went, and he said “very badly! But, Sinha was sure to throw Sandali, who at the time was carrying extra pounds. She promised to get back in shape before the movie and lost 20kg.
Among the boys, Priyanshu had the best hearing. “For several days, Priyanshu and Himanshu played each other. But I saw Priyanshu more like Shekhar. It didn’t bother Priyanshu as it was a better part, but I took a day to convince Himanshu, ”revealed Anubhav Sinha.
Recalling the fan who followed the film received, Priyanshu attributed it all to Bhushan Kumar and T-Series “for nurturing Tum Bin over a long period of 20 years. And of course, the fans for their undying love for the film. Greetings.
Tum Bin is also known for its story of love and redemption, apart from its scenic locations. Sinha, however, shared “those standing behind the camera were dying!” Tum Bin was shot in Calgary and the director wanted to keep the backdrop to the fall colors of Canada, just as winters set in. But they had no idea how bad the weather was.
“You talk about Tum Bin, and all we remember is cold!” One day we turned at -35 degrees.
But what was Sinha like as a director? Sandali, who was a regular at his videos, said: “He’s going to laugh with you, have fun, but when he’s working you better not joke with him.” Raqesh added, “When you’re ok with your script, filming isn’t difficult. Anubhav Sinha had so much clarity. His editing pattern is perfect in his head. So he pulled as much as needed.
For Himanshu, who was also a regular face in Sinha’s music videos, Tum Bin had the passion instilled by his creators. “Even before we shot the first frame, we all knew we were on to something very special. From the script to the soundtrack, every detail of the film has been carefully and intensely crafted. The producers supported Anubhav Sinha and he supported his cast and crew, ”he said.
Priyanshu agreed. “Tum Bin stands the test of time because love, honesty and the desire to do the right thing would always remain a relevant theme. Or we hope so. According to him, the songs continue to help the longevity of the films.
He’s not wrong. Much of Tum Bin’s popularity can be attributed to his music. In fact, Bhushan Kumar’s top priority was to have a memorable album with eight songs. And the fact that we continue to be part of our playlists is a testament to the fact that a lot of heart went into the creation of his songs.
Nikhil Kamath, half of the Nikhil-Vinay music composer duo, thinks Tum Bin is a blessed project from God. “It started off as a fun project. And anything that is done in harmony and in a cordial relationship becomes a success, ”Kamath said.
The first time Anubhav Sinha narrated to Nikhil-Vinay was at Bhushan Kumar’s. They discussed 6-7 songs, two of which were finalized on the spot – “Tumhare Siva” and “Choti Choti Raatein”.
“We didn’t want to follow the standards. Although this is a teen film, we thought about bringing in Jagjit Singh for “Koi Fariyaad”. For “Tum Bin”, we wanted the song a little higher. It would have been shrill in Alka Yagnik’s tonal quality. So we went to Chennai to record it with Chitra ji. She even sang “Pyar Humko Hone Laga”. This decision was made on the spot. We had a flight to catch and she overtook it in an hour, ”Kamath said.
Anubhav Sinha had tears in his eyes as Chitra recorded the title song. He said the deal between him and Bhushan Kumar was that both should like the songs. “Bhushan was like a maniac looking for songs and playing them to me,” he recalls.
Kamath further revealed that the female version of “Meri Duniya Mein Aake” was commissioned by Anubhav Sinha. “But, Sonu Nigam sang it very loud. There was no one who could adapt to this range. Then someone at T-Series recommended Shailaja Subramanian.
Raqesh, who was at the recording studio when Jagjit Singh was dubbing the ghazal, shared the surreal moment he had in his first song “Tumhare Siva” when he lip-synced with Udit Narayan’s voice.
“It was a huge high for me, like kind of a la-la-land feeling. In fact, a girl friend told me that her first boyfriend was imitating my polo collars and that their first date had the song “Tum Bin”. Music was the backbone of the movie. There was a happy song, a breaking song, very relatable music. A lot of recovery happened because of the music before the movie was released .
Sandali laughed as she shared how traders change the song in stores to Tum Bin, when she goes to buy something still to this day. Tourists also come to see her for a photo when she is on vacation abroad. Some even have “Choti Choti Raatein” ringing around her. She believes the fandom is only on the rise, even after two decades.
“Tum Bin has his own life. It was not a person who did it. It is everyone’s labor of love, with such purity. And we are woven together over time, ”she said, looking back. Himanshu added, “Tum Bin was a wonderful and rare alignment in the Bollywood cacophony around 2001.”
Raqesh also agrees. Sharing an incident from his promotional tour, he said: “We visited a crowded theater in Benaras. People got so hysterical that they started throwing coins at us. They wanted to touch us, broke chairs, followed our cars. At Kanpur station, we had no room to get off the train. The back of my shirt was torn. We had to regroup and protect Sandali.
So what did Anubhav Sinha learn from his first director? Giving an honest answer, he told us, “The tragedy is that I learned all the wrong things. After Tum Bin, I thought I knew the formula for making a successful film. And every time a director thinks that, he flops. The second thing is that after the movie, all the great actors and producers wanted to work with me, they chased me, and I thought that was success. And everything I put my heart and soul into creating Tum Bin – its script and music, was left out. It took me 16-17 years to get back to the Tum Bin Formula, which was actually following your heart. “
Sinha also directed Tum Bin 2 (2016), a sequel to the original, which failed to reach audiences. “After Ra.One (2011), I lost confidence in myself as a director. It has received so much criticism, and I am completely blamed for it. It took me 5 years to lead again. Bhushan gave me Tum Bin 2. But, I shouldn’t have done part two, because I don’t think it came from a pure heart. Additionally, Tum Bin 2 was unlucky as a week before its release, demonetization was announced. People didn’t have the money to watch it. Even his songs did not fall in the right place. You cannot recreate the magic.
The filmmaker’s last three films – Mulk, Thappad and Article 15 have made a lot of noise, but he thinks Tum Bin is standing with them. “These three films are intense socio-political dramas that, as you said, created a 2.0 of me, and Tum Bin survived my first life as a director.”
Sinha shared that his good friend and colleague filmmaker Hansal Mehta had called him once from Mauritius where he was filming. It was his day off and Hansal mehtaAll of the cast and crew were drinking and listening to music, when Tum Bin’s title song played and everyone started to cry. “This is one of the most crushing phone calls I have received,” he said.
“It is your conviction and your madness for a film, which transcends the screen and the hearts of the public,” he concluded. Tum Bin turned 20 this month.
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