Kicks in Kuala Lumpur
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- Published 29.10.08
|Nighttime traffic at Kuala Lumpur (Picture by the author); (below) the author with actors Saurabh Shukla and Mukesh Rishi|
On a Sunday morning, Sanjay Singh Chauhan came down from Mumbai to meet me at my Golf Green residence. He talked about a Hindi film called Lahore that he was planning to make. It would basically be a sports film — on kick-boxing.
Sanjay narrated the script and said he wanted me to play a character in the film. I was a little apprehensive about playing a kick-boxer but Sanjay assured me that he was thinking of casting me as a coach.
My character in Lahore is a Pakistani kick-boxing coach called Sikandar Hayat. Mukesh Rishi would play my prize boxer, Ashish Vidyarthi would play the Pakistani sports administrator and Nirmal Pandey the Pakistani sports technical advisor. I got interested as I was told that apart from these people, the cast would also have Farooque Shaikh, Saurabh Shukla and Sushant Singh!
We began our shoot in Mumbai. Lahore starts with the India-Pakistan rivalry and ends with the “triumph of sports” over everything else. The film was initially scheduled to be shot partially in Pakistan, but that unfortunately didn’t happen due to various reasons. We shot in and around Mumbai and finally landed up in Kuala Lumpur for some sequences.
We shot at various spots in Kuala Lumpur but couldn’t enjoy our work as much as we were under a lot of restrictions. The Malaysian people were nice but not very helpful. Our director and the whole crew worked hard for 10 days on the trot to finish the schedule on time, but despite that, we had leftover portions, which we finished in Mumbai later.
In between shooting, Mukesh, Saurabh and I went sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur. We checked out the Petronas Towers and the shopping mall inside it, and ate at a Malaysian restaurant. And we loved the bustling nightlife on the streets.
We spent a great evening at an Iranian restaurant where Farooquesaab treated us to an elaborate Iranian dinner. The food was so good! I wish we had an Iranian restaurant in Calcutta.