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‘Salaam Namaste’ turns 15: Director Siddharth Anand says film was ahead of time

Salaam Namaste, starring Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan, released 15 years ago on this day. Director Siddharth Anand says the film was ahead of its time.

“I think ‘Salaam Namaste’ was dealing with an issue that was taboo or not spoken about, but very much prevalent whether in India or with Indians outside. It felt like it was ahead of its time, but the thing is that there was no deliberate attempt to do something that is scandalous or trying to do something different,” Anand said about the quirky comedy, which tells the story of two young NRIs in Melbourne (played by Saif and Preity), who live together, and the girl subsequently gets pregnant. Upon release, many viewers found shades of similarity between the film and the 1995 Hollywood comedy “Nine Months”.

Anand added: “When the film was releasing and we promoted it (as a story) about live-in relationships, that is when it actually hit me that we were dealing with something which is very new!”

The director said that he never aimed at doing something different or new with the film.

“It was just something like, they are sharing the rent and now they have started seeing each other, so they are going to move from two rooms to one room. That’s living in. So, it was organic, nothing to be scandalous about that I wanted to do something new and cool,” he recalled.

“We didn’t try too hard and it wasn’t in your face. That is why it started a very important conversation in society about Indians living in without getting married,” he claimed.

From Kunal Kohli’s “Hum Tum”, which he scripted, to last year’s blockbuster “War”, Anand says he has never made a deliberate effort to shape pop culture. “I don’t even know if I have. I think just the fact that I started out very young making films, somewhere, being of that age group, what I made resonated with the audience.”

The filmmaker says in his 15-year-long career, he has made six films and that he has tried to do something different each time. “I get bored very easily. I get bored with my own ideas easily. So, I am always trying to do something different,” he said.

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