When Akshay Kumar got to know that Amitabh Bachchan would be playing his father in Suneel Darshan’s Ek Rishtaa-The Bond Of Love, which completed 23 years last week, he was over the moon.

Reminiscing over the casting producer-director Suneel Darshan says, “Isn’t that natural?Anyone who comes face-to-face with the stalwart would experience such inner emotions.Fortunately, the subject demanded that awe in the son’s eyes for his father and surely Akshay Kumar enjoyed a strong comfort level with me that made things easier.”

The subject of Ek Rishtaa-the bond of love had been put on paper almost a decade before it was launched.

Says Suneel, “It was my interpretation of a family movie just as Hum …Aapke Hain Kaun was Sooraj Barjatya’s even though both were totally different.Post the success of my Jaanwar in 1999, Akshay Kumar expressed his eagerness to work with me yet again .I wonder if he recalls his commitment of a 100 movies with me! I felt that this subject would be a befitting successor to our earlier hit together. Then, miraculously Mr. Amitabh Bachchan joined in…Karisma Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Raakheeji fitted in effortlessly and we got moving.Another feather in the cap was to get music composers Nadeem Shravan and Sameer on board who delivered a befitting score.”

Raakhee Gulzar put forward a cute pre-condition to Suneel before agreeing to be part of Ek Rishtaa. “Raakheeji was a total contrast to her high-handed image.It was such a pleasure pampering her . Raakheeji’s pre-conditions for doing Ek Rishtaa included that she would not shoot when Kaun Banega Crorepati was telecast, so I had a cable connection and a television set installed for her comfortable viewing. While she took a break for KBC, the KBC host continued shooting with other artistes on the sets.”

Suneel has no plans of working with Akshay Kumar. “I’m very happy to be working with and moulding new talents presently in my next movie ANDAAZ 2, which releases later this year. It’s well proven that the stars who are unaffordable aren’t delivering the required numbers which has pushed whatever’s left of this industry into deep waters plus the actors are keener about perceptional successes rather than actuality.”

Given a chance Suneel wouldn’t change anything in Ek Rishtaa except on thing. “Just the negative reactions and nasty efforts that the adversaries employed to pull down something so precious and beautiful.It is yet another milestone in my career as the writer, producer and director and a personal favourite. The impact of this movie on its audiences keeps it alive even two decades later with the high frequency of re-runs on OTT platforms, television and satellite.The depth of Ek Rishtaa continues to inspire the new generation of filmmakers to interpret it in their spaces with roaring success and validates its timelessness.”