Fenil and Bollywood

London Dreams: Recession and reality bites

Posted on: October 14, 2009

While London Dreams was planned on a lavish scale, recession forced director Vipul Shah to reconsider costs. His leading stars Salman and Ajay opted for a 25 per cent pay cut, instead of compromising on the film

By Meena Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 13, 2009)

When Vipul Shah took over London Dreams from Raj Kumar Santoshi at the behest of Salman Khan, the film was hot property because these two actors were coming together after a gap of 10 years. They were last seen in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Also, the Bollywood market was booming.

In fact, Vipul had an offer of Rs 120 crore from a film corporation for the worldwide rights even before he had finished shooting. However, the deal fell through because a few days after Vipul had negotiated this deal, the global economy turned shaky.

It is said that Vipul (thanks to three hits – Ankhein, Waqt and Namastey London) was to get a director’s fee that was to the tune of Rs 10 crore plus. Both his leading men Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan were also to get big money.

Now news has it that both Salman and Ajay have voluntarily agreed to take a 25 per cent fee cut; and Vipul has waived his complete fee.

When asked to confirm this report, Vipul says, “Yes, this happened sometime at the end of 2008. When the global economy crashed, all of us on board London Dreams – that is Salman, Ajay, my senior technicians and staff sat down and said, ‘We have a choice to either go ahead and shoot the film on the lavish scale that we had envisioned it; and take a pay cut ourselves. Or we had to cut corners.'”

Vipul explains that with the shooting planned in Paris, London and Punjab, the expense was very high. However, both his leading men immediately agreed to take a pay cut. He says, “They told me to go ahead and make the film on the scale that I had envisioned, and they would be willing let go of a part of their fees.”

Vipul adds, “I guess that night we bonded best. There is a saying that when you bond during a crisis, the bonding goes deep. That is what happened with Salman, Ajay and me.”

Incidentally, Raj Kumar Santoshi shot for just one day of London Dreams with Salman Khan at the Golden Temple, Amritsar, before Vipul took over and made it into an altogether new film.

And Santoshi allegedly spent a large sum on that one day’s shoot, which has now been scrapped.

That should give an indication of the scale on which this film was planned.

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