The story of Sehmat Khan(the fictitious name given to the real Indian spy by the author) has been touching hearts all over the world thanks to Harinder Sikka’s book ‘Calling Sehmat’ and now Alia Bhatt-starrer Raazi, a film based on the same character. The director of the film, Meghna Gulzar, has been praised by one and all for her refreshing take on the espionage thriller genre.
But you would be surprised to know that she was not the author’s first choice. In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Sikka revealed that it was her father, legendary lrycist Gulzar saab, who he had originally approached for directing the film. But when he didn’t show interest in the project, Akshay Kumar suggested to him his daughter Meghna’s name and that’s how the film went to her.
“Not many know that it was actor Akshay Kumar who introduced me to Meghna Gulzar and she saw the possibility of a film in it. Meghna had asked me at least thousand questions and I was happy that if not Gulzar Saab, his daughter was making it,” he told the daily.
“I met Akshay Kumar during the screenings of Nanak Shah Fakir and wanted to rope him [as a producer]. It was he who invited Meghna Gulzar for a meeting about this book at his home. Instinctively, I knew that I had found my film’s director,” the author had earlier told Mid-Day.
Speaking about real-life Sehmat’s nod for Alia, Sikka said, “Sehmat’s way of saying yes or no was through silence. When I suggested that Alia play her, she said a silent yes. She wanted Alia to play her. Meghna made me meet Alia at Dharma’s office in Mumbai. Only I could have told her what Sehmat was all about. It was a long delightful meeting. To her credit, Alia is sharp and caught everything. It’s a life-changing role and she delved into it without qualms. I saw that my book was being respected. When the film was nearly done, Alia Bhatt asked me if she had lived up to my expectation of Sehmat’s part.”
Amazing isn’t it?