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Farah Khan completed 30 years in the industry as a choreographer, on May 22. The talented and popular film personality has shown her magic in several songs in her illustrious career. However, one song that stood out was ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ from Dil Se (1998), directed by Mani Ratnam. The film, which completed 24 years on August 21, featured Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora dancing on top of a train along with a hundred other dancers. The song itself was a chartbuster and moreover, the way it was shot and choreographed enhanced the impact. Hence, it’s no surprise that the visuals ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ continue to dazzle the audience even today.
Bollywood Hungama spoke to Farah Khan exclusively, on the occasion of her 30th anniversary. The topic steered towards ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ and how she managed to choreograph this challenging song.
Farah Khan had revealed in a previous interview that initially, the idea was to shoot the whole song at the Ooty railway station. Farah revealed, “The problem was that we didn’t get permission to shoot at the railway station. The initial idea was that Shah Rukh Khan’s character sees the banjara women at the station and they all dance on the tracks. But the authorities said that they can’t shut down the station for four days for the sake of the shooting.”
Farah Khan continued, “Meanwhile, Mani sir (Mani Ratnam) had shot Thiruda Thiruda (1993) where the climax fight was atop the train. He told me about it and asked me if we can do something similar here. I instantly agreed, not realizing how and what we would shoot!”
Farah Khan, then in her trademark style, narrated, “There was no harness and no safety. I was asked about the safety precautions. I used to say that I’d take extra dancers with me in case some of them fell off (laughs)! Luckily, there were no mishaps while shooting the song. We had no clue. We didn’t get the train beforehand to rehearse. We just climbed on it and we were like ‘chalo, start shooting’!’”
When asked how it is that the Dil Se’s unit was provided with the railway track to shoot and not the station, Farah Khan explained, “That’s because they gave us an alternate railway track, between Ooty and Coonoor. We also got the steam engine. It was a separate gauge. The train was ours for the whole day. We completed the shoot in four days. It was a fab experience.”
Lead actor Shah Rukh Khan had no qualms and was excited about shooting ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’. Farah Khan laughed as she remembered, “He wanted to climb on the top of the train’s chimney also. We had to pull him down!”
Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Farah Khan completes 30 years in Bollywood; speaks about choreographing Salman Khan for Lakhani’s ad, how she gave Shah Rukh Khan his first PAN-INDIA success
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