15 years ago, on this day, a comic caper released titled No Entry. And the idea of humour was never the same again. This was the time when Bollywood produced madcap entertainers regularly but No Entry stood out thanks to its supreme content, writing and performances. Audiences went crazy and literally fell off their chairs as they witnessed the trio (played brilliantly by Anil Kapoor, Fardeen Khan and Salman Khan) trying their best to keep their respective marriages from falling apart. The film’s release faced obstacles at first but eventually, it released all over and emerged as 2005’s biggest hit, earning a huge Rs. 44.72 crore.
On this momentous occasion, No Entry’s producer, Boney Kapoor, speaks exclusively to Bollywood Hungama about how the film’s casting was done, the large-hearted Salman Khan, why the film’s release was in jeopardy and a lot more.
No Entry also starred Lara Dutta, Celina Jaitly, Esha Deol and Bipasha Basu. Getting so many actors together was tough and Boney reveals that the original casting was different, “Sanjay Dutt was to do the film but it didn’t work out. The original cast was Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt. Sanjay was supposed to essay the part played by Salman Khan.” He continues, “The cast that was then finalized was Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan. Saif was then replaced with Fardeen Khan. The project had also halted at one point. But then Anil spoke to Salman and Salman told us that we can start next month. So within 30 days, we got the film on floors. The film’s shoot, in fact, began with the song 'Just Love Me' featuring Salman Khan. It was shot in Sun City and was the first film to be filmed there.”
Boney Kapoor then drops another interesting trivia about the casting, “Priyanka Chopra was to do the role of the seductress Bobby. However, she had to opt out of the film as she was already doing Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004). I had given the cheque to Priyanka and later, when she exited the project, her manager returned the amount.” Bobby was then eventually played by Bipasha Basu. Interesting, an IMDb trivia about No Entry is that Sanjay Kapoor was signed to play a negative part but it was scrapped before the shooting commenced. Boney Kapoor, however, makes it clear that this is not true at all.
No Entry was written and directed by Anees Bazmee. The filmmaker went on another league after this flick as he then delivered blockbusters like Welcome (2007), Singh Is Kinng (2008) and Ready (2011). While everyone praises Anees’s direction, Boney takes the effort to also talk highly of his writing. Boney Kapoor says, "It is among the best written films of Anees Bazmee as well." When asked to mention his favourite scene, he replies, “The entire film is my favourite,” adding that it’s one film which a viewer can’t help but watch till the end if he/she starts watching it. "No Entry is among the funniest films ever and its success led to many such films in this zone," he adds.
The shoot of No Entry took a lot of time and was an adventure in itself. Boney Kapoor informs, “We shot for 40-50 days in South Africa. This was followed by a schedule in Mauritius where Salman was shooting for Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. During his off days or after he was done with Mujhse Shaadi Karogi shoot, he would shoot for No Entry. Hamari unit hamesha slip mein khadi hoti thi!” Boney is all praises for Salman and thanks him for giving him all the support in completing the shoot. “He has always been a producer friendly actor,” says the producer.
Salman Khan’s screen time, however, is limited as compared to that of Anil Kapoor and Fardeen Khan. And just weeks before the film’s release, the makers increased Salman’s role by shooting a funny scene involving the superstar, Boman Irani and Pratima Kazmi. It referenced the unforgettable 26/7 Mumbai floods, which occurred exactly a month before the film’s release. Boney Kapoor explains, “This sequence was added because we realized that there’s a huge chunk of the second half where Salman Khan is just not there. So Anees wrote this fantastic scene just a few weeks before the release and shot it in at Hotel Renaissance in Powai.” Salman eventually shot for 25 days for this rib-tickling comedy.
2 months before release, No Entry’s trailer was out and interestingly, it got an adults-only certificate, probably because the trailer focused majorly on the extra-marital element and scenes of Bipasha seducing Anil Kapoor. However, the film was passed with a U/A certificate. If you think the CBFC would have asked for dialogue or visual cuts, you are mistaken. The only modification asked was to blur the visuals of an alcohol bottle! A producer normally would get perturbed if his commercial entertainer gets an ‘A’ certificate. Boney Kapoor, explains why he was unfazed, “Yes, the trailer got an ‘A’ certificate but it didn’t matter much to me as the multiplex then had just entered our markets. So we were confident that the film would pull through despite the ‘A’ certification. It’s only much later that these things became a problem. For instance, my next film Wanted (2009) getting an ‘A’ certificate restricted its business. It would have done 50% more if it had got U/A. I remember speaking to some exhibitors who told me that audiences are coming in full force to cinemas with their families to watch Wanted. But when they realize it’s an ‘A’ film, they would opt for the other film running at that time.”
Boney Kapoor then opens up about the sleepless nights he had to face before the release of the film and how his deceased wife, actress Sridevi, went to great heights to seek divine help. He says, “Just before the release of the film, I ran into a major financial trouble. I had to arrange a huge amount of money and hence, the release of the film was uncertain. 4 days before the release, on Tuesday August 23, Sridevi walked barefoot from our house in Andheri to Siddhivinayak Temple. Thankfully, her prayers were answered. Also, all my friends, including Salman, stood by me and gave me all the support I required. Moreover, they had all seen the film and were in love with it. So, they were even more determined to get it in cinemas on time.”
The release, however, was not smooth, at least on the first day. Boney tells, “In a few places in the hinterland like Bihar, the film didn’t get a release on Friday. The film arrived there on Saturday and the same happened in many centres abroad. But as soon as the film was up, the shows got sold out.” Then there was no looking back. The word of mouth was tremendously positive, resulting in a huge box office lifetime. “In fact, there were 50-70 centres where the film ran for 100 days,” says the producer proudly.
As a result, it was a jolt for countless No Entry fans when it failed to win the Best Film award at the 51st Filmfare Awards. The Amitabh Bachchan-Rani Mukerji starrer Black (2005), directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, won the Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress award not just in the popular but also the critic categories. Many found this decision unfair and argued that No Entry should have won the Best Film award in the popular category. Was it saddening for Boney to have not won the Black Lady? He reveals, “It was. After all, No Entry was a film loved by the whole family and it was also the biggest hit of the year. But later, it didn’t really matter much. Also, I am not someone who holds grudges for long.”
A conversation about No Entry is incomplete without the mention of its long impending sequel. Boney Kapoor still doesn’t know when it will go on floors but assures, “No Entry sequel is ten times funnier. I am confident that in my lifetime, I’ll make the sequel. It needs to be made. No Entry was so funny but the sequel is funnier and it’ll emerge as the funniest film ever. Also, such films are the need of the hour since there’s so much of gloom in the world because of the on-going pandemic.”