Kajol reveals she refused Salaam Venky initially: ‘Don’t want do film in which anything happens to my children’

There’s an on-screen line which Kajol cannot cross— it involves stories with children suffering. Kajol says when actor-turned-filmmaker Revathy approached her with her latest directorial Salaam Venky, a film about a mother and her ailing son, her instinct was to turn it down. Salaam Venky features Kajol as a mother, who fights through challenges as the health of her terminally-ill son (played by Vishal Jethwa) keeps deteriorating. The film is based on the book The Last Hurrah by Shrikant Murthy.

Kajol said when the film adaptation came her way—written by Sammeer Arora and Kausar Munir—she thought the story was every parents’ “worst nightmare”. “I refused the film for three days. I was like, ‘I am not doing this film, I don’t want do a film in which anything happens to my children.’ I cannot handle that. It’s every parents’ worst nightmare, you wouldn’t even wish this on your enemy, it’s that kind of a situation.

“Revathy said, ‘Just think about it.’ I then spent 10 minutes, being a full fan of Revathy mam. When you watch the film, you’ll realize who the real star of the film is— it’s her,” Kajol added.

Salaam Venky marks Revathy’s return to feature film direction 18 years after Phir Milenge starring Shilpa Shetty, Salman Khan and Abhishek Bachchan, Kajol said she was a fan of the actor’s direction when she saw her film and was keen to be directed by her.

“When I had seen her first film, I had absolutely loved it. I had decided that if she ever approaches me for a film—of course I don’t have the guts to say no to hershe would be the kind of director that I would love to work with. She has that ability to take a situation and to make it something extraordinary, in the most positive way possible. It’s a serious topic which scares us. But she took this topic and took the fear out of that. The film is about the celebration of life,” she added.

Revathi, who had dubbed for Kajol for the 1997 Tamil film Minsara Kanavu, recalled how the actor went from no to yes for Salaam Venky. “I had met Kajol to narrate it. She told me, ‘I’m listening to this because it’s you but I’m not going to do this film.’ I just smiled and told her that’s ok, just listen. After the narration got over, Kajol says, ‘I want to sing that song; that costume should be like this’ and I kept smiling. The mother and actor in her had accepted the film,” she added.

The film also stars Rahul Bose, Rajeev Khandelwal, Prakash Raj and Ahana Kumra in pivotal roles. Presented by Connekkt Media and produced by Suuraj Sinngh, Shraddha Agrawal, and Varsha Kukreja under the banner BLIVE Productions and RTAKE Studios, Salaam Venky will release on December 9.

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