Vishesh Bhatt told Mukesh Bhatt, ‘Dad he’s Dino Morea and he’s very popular’
It is 20 years of Raaz and I want to give myself a little pat on the shoulder and say ‘thank you!’, because I really worked hard to try and get that opportunity. I remember pretty much everything clearly, even though it all happened 20 years ago. Right from the time that I got the movie. I had gone to meet Mukesh Bhatt in the office and I remember Mahesh Bhatt saab was also sitting there. I was talking to Mukesh ji and Bhatt saab was staring at me, I could see from the corner of my eye that this person was staring at me. I said, ‘Listen I want to be in movies, I want to act’. At that time, two of my music videos had come out, which had become really popular so they knew who I was. Also Mukeshji’s son Vishesh knew who I was and he told his father, “Dad he is Dino Morea and is very popular.”
Mukeshji told me to go and meet Vikram Bhatt the same day. He was editing at a studio in Khar, he met me and I remember he called up Mukeshji and said, “Let’s do this’ and that’s it, I was signed on for Raaz.
The scene when Bipasha walks into the jungle scared me, too
I am ever grateful to Bhatt saab, Mukeshji and Vikram for giving me the opportunity with Raaz. We started shooting in Bombay and then moved to Ooty and Switzerland. The experience was absolutely unbelievable and I fortunately had Bhatt saab on the sets who was overseeing everything and we worked with fantastic actors, too. My co-star Bipasha was also incredible and then Ashutosh Rana, too.
I remember shooting the scary scenes in Ooty. The house that we shot in, was located in the forest. It looked stunning but when we were shooting there at nights, even though we had big lights, it was still very spooky. When Bipasha walks out into the jungle after she hears a sound, I remember the audience reactions from the theatres. The audience exclaimed during screenings, “Arrey, mat jaa! Kyun jaa rahi hai?” I wouldn’t do it and anyone in their right mind would not walk into the forest, especially in an area like that.
While creating the scene we knew we were creating the spookiness but when we saw the scene with sound effects it got really scary. I got scared watching it even though I knew what I had done while shooting.
I was thrilled to be congratulated by Shah Rukh Khan
The music of the film was great and we had the most amazing songs, which I get to hear even today. From my perspective, everything came together for me with Raaz.
After the movie released, the experience was unbelievable for me. I was ecstatic that my second film was such a huge hit. That’s what gave me a strong foothold in the industry and I told myself, ‘Wow! Now the industry has accepted me.’
An unforgettable memory came a few weeks after the release of Raaz. Bipasha and I were having dinner at a restaurant and Shah Rukh had come to have dinner at the same place. He came over and congratulated us. I was so thrilled with the fact that he came and told us, “Your film is really doing well.” The reason this was so special for me was it was the same year that his film Devdas had released.