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Moved by Christopher Nolan’s heartfelt goodbye to the Batman trilogy, Rohit Shetty has bid an emotional adieu to his own blockbuster franchise – the Golmaal trilogy. The film-maker shared his letter with The UnReal Times, that we present to our readers with a lump in our throats.
Gopal, Lucky, Madhav, Laxman, Vasooli… names that have come to mean so much to me. Two years ago, I bid goodbye to these characters and their world. It’s my son’s 6th birthday. He was born even as the first Golmaal’s script was being patched together in my garage from gags of random movies. Much time, many changes.
People ask me if I always planned a trilogy. This is like being asked if I had planned on telling a sensible story or providing clean, non-lame humour. The answer is complicated. When Ajay and I first started cracking open Gopal’s story, we flirted with what might come after, but then backed away, not wanting to look too deep into the next scene. I didn’t want to know everything that Gopal and his friends would do in the movie, I wanted to live it with them as they went along. I told Tusshar and Arshad to put everything they knew into each film as we made it, and they did. The entire cast and crew put all they had into the first film. Nothing held back. Nothing saved for next time. They built an entire movie. Then Sharman and Arshad and Tusshar and Ajay and Vasooli started living in it.
I never thought we’d do a second – how many times can you get away with bullshit? Why roll the dice? But once I started seeing glimpses of the level of my audience’s intelligence, it became a no-brainer. We re-assembled the team and went back to the garage. The cast had changed in two years. Bigger. More flop actors. More random chicks. More lame gags. And a new force of chaos was coming to the fore. The ultimate scary actor – Celina Jaitley. We’d held nothing back the first time, but there were some things that we’d chickened out on – giving dialogues to Tusshar, and getting in Kareena Kapoor and giving her a free rein. We took the security of the audience’s stupidity as license to throw caution to the wind and headed to the darkest corners of film-making.
I never thought we’d do a third – are there really so many suckers out there? But I kept wondering about the end of Gopal’s journey, and once Ajay and I discovered it over some drinks and weed, I had to see it for myself. I called everyone back together for another tour of Golmaal. Four years later, it was still there. Familiar faces were back – a little older, not necessarily wiser… but not all was as it seemed.
Bollywood was rotting away at its foundations. A new evil was bubbling up from beneath in the form of compelling cinema such as ‘Peepli Live’, ‘Udaan’ and ‘Once upon a time in Mumbai’ that actually had stories to tell. Ajay had thought Golmaal wasn’t needed anymore, but Ajay was wrong, just as I had been wrong. Golmaal had to come back. I suppose it always will.
Ajay, Tusshar, Sharman, Shreyas, Kareena… names that have come to mean so much to me. My time in Golmaal, looking after the greatest and most enduring trilogy in India’s recent film history, has been the most challenging and rewarding experience a film-maker could hope for. I will miss Golmaal. I like to think Golmaal would miss me, but it never did have the depth for all that.
(Based on a theme by Ashwin S Kumar)