It was decided that Santoshi would script a laughathon about two warring buddies, human avatars of "Tom & Jerry". After Aamir came on board, Santoshi brought Salman into the picture.
"Both were very big stars by then. They had no problems working together. And during the shooting, they became even better friends. There would be constant laughter on the sets. We would be rolling with laughter on the sets. There was so much laughter that the cameraman would be shaking with mirth while shooting the scenes.
"The camera would shake along with the cameraman. We had to stop the shooting and let the laughter subside," he recounted.
He says all the jokes and gags were worked out beforehand. "People think Aamir and Salman decided to call themselves Amar and Prem to celebrate the movie 'Amar Prem'. But their names had nothing to do with Shakti Samanta's film. And Aamir's exclamation 'Aila!' and Salman's 'Oui Maa!' were also my idea," said the director.
He says he used to give cues to the actors from behind the camera. "Even during that sequence where Salman is fed julaab (laxative) and his love-confessions are repeatedly interrupted by his rumbling stomach, that 'gud-gud-gud' sound to Salman's dialogues was being given by me from behind the camera. "Salman didn't know when and where the 'gud-gud-gud' would be put by me. That added to the scene's unpredictability," he said.
Curiously, AAA got a lukewarm response from the audience when it released April 11, 1994. "It was very badly marketed and distributed. Nobody knew the film was coming. We got a below-average opening. But over the years, the film has acquired a cult status. People remember each and every dialogue of AAA, just as they remember every dialogue of 'Mughal-e-Azam' and 'Sholay'," he said. Now Santoshi plans a sequel to AAA, but strictly by public demand.
"I don't believe in creating a franchise by doing sequels or building my own brand. But the demand for a sequel to AAA is unbelievable. If I don't do it someone else will. That I won't allow. I've ideas for two sequels. One of them is about Amar and Prem married and their life thereafter," he said. However, it is unlikely that the sequel to AAA would bring Aamir and Salman together again. "Firstly, the economic logistics of bringing Aamir and Salman together in the same film are mindboggling. Secondly, their working methods are very different, even though they're such good friends in real life," he said.
So, Santoshi wants to make AAA2 with younger actors. "The world has moved on in 20 years. I see a lot of filmmakers and actors doing an 'Andaz Apna Apna'. I would like to see where the characters have gone after so long," he added.