Priyadarshan’s comedy caper Hera Pheri completes 21 years of its release today. The film, which released on March 31, 2000, is counted among the best Bollywood comedies. It is centred around three men — Baburao Ganpatrao Apte (Paresh Rawal), conman Raju (Akshay Kumar) and an unemployed do-gooder Shyam (Suniel Shetty). One wrong phone call changes their lives forever, and they get involved in the kidnapping of a young girl.
Recalling the good old days on the 21st anniversary of Hera Pheri’s release, Suniel Shetty wrote on Twitter, “No wonder we underestimate how quickly time flies. It seems I blinked, and 21 years went by. What a film we made @priyadarshandir @akshaykumar @SirPareshRawal @GulshanGroverGG #Tabu. Missing #OmPuri ji very dearly today…”
Responding to Shetty’s tweet, Akshay Kumar shared how he had no idea “what a film we were making”. He also revealed his favourite scene from the movie is the one where he, Rawal and Shetty’s characters were fighting, and suddenly Tabu’s Anuradha came in the room. Akshay tweeted, “Agreed! Even we didn’t know back then what a film we were making, each scene better than the other. Specially love this one : dhoti. Genius of Priyan sir and epic dialogues by late Neeraj Vora.”
Agreed! Even we didn’t know back then what a film we were making, each scene better than the other. Specially love this one : dhoti 😂😂 Genius of Priyan sir and epic dialogues by late Neeraj Vora. pic.twitter.com/mzU3xq2sKx
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) March 31, 2021
Actor Gulshan Grover, who essayed the role of Kabira in the movie, also celebrated the 21 years of the movie by sharing a small clip from it. Along with it, he wrote, “21 years of #Herapheri , what a film by director Priyadarshan @priyadarshandir
Producer #firozNadiadwala and brilliant actors @akshaykumar @SunielVShetty @SirPareshRawal #Tabu #Asrani ji , late #OmPuri ji and #KabiraSpeaking.”
21 years of #Herapheri , what a film by director Priyadarshan @priyadarshandir Producer #firozNadiadwala and brilliant actors @akshaykumar @SunielVShetty @SirPareshRawal #Tabu #Asrani ji , late #OmPuri ji and #KabiraSpeaking pic.twitter.com/ao7oYYeyuu
— Gulshan Grover (@GulshanGroverGG) March 31, 2021
Hera Pheri is a remake of the Malayalam movie Ramji Rao Speaking’ by Siddique and Lal. In an earlier interview with PTI, Priyadarshan has called it a ‘humour of poverty’ which “is inspired by Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin.” He had also revealed how Rawal had a lot of trouble in getting into the role of Baburao Ganpathrao Apte. “He changed his body language and wore soda bottle glasses, which was challenging as you go completely out of focus. He would count his steps as he couldn’t see anything,” Priyadarshan said.
It wasn’t easy to work on Hera Pheri for Shetty and Kumar either. They had to sleep on newspapers to get that feeling of being uncomfortable. In an interview with IMDb, Shetty had shared, “The director would ask us to sleep in the afternoon on paper, so we used to sleep on newspapers. He (Priyadarshan) said I don’t want you to be comfortable. When you get up, you should have rested, but stay uncomfortable. So, we wore no makeup, nothing. Akshay Kumar, me and Paresh ji were constantly together, constantly rehearsing our lines, constantly improvising and Priyan sir is one man who knows when to say cut.”
Hera Pheri, which was a massive hit at the time of its release, now enjoys a cult status. It also starred actors Om Puri, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Asrani, Mukesh Khanna, and Gulshan Grover.