Known for tackling serious themes in his movies, Kabir Khan is all set with his next outing – Ek Tha Tiger – that again brings to the fore the issue of terrorism.
You started out as a documentary filmmaker before making commercial cinema. How was filming Beyond The Himalayas different from Ek Tha Tiger and New York?
I believe in adopting a distinctive and unique style while filming each movie. Each story needs a different narrative pattern and they cannot be compared. The style I adopted while filming New York is totally different from the way I shot Ek Tha Tiger.
Ek Tha Tiger is the most ambitious project of Yash Raj Films till date. Were you ever worried about the consequences of the film not doing well at the box office? Were you granted complete freedom to do as you please by Yash Raj Films?
I was never bogged down or worried about the future of the film. The money was required for the story and that was the priority. The film spinning magic at the box office is definitely one of the factors that determine the success of the movie but it is not the only one. I saw the movie and I am satisfied as a director that I have worked to my full ability. Producer Aditya Chopra trusted in me and this helped me in the making of the film.
It was reported that there were creative differences between you and Salman Khan. How was it working with the star?
I was misquoted about the incident. Directors who are insecure will have trouble when actors give suggestions. However, for me, I would be offended if the lead actors don’t give their suggestions. Not just Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Aditya Chopra and Ranvir Shorey had given their suggestions and many of them have gone into the filming of the movie. I believe that filmmaking is a collaborative effort and the actors also need to be part of the creative area to get a satisfying product.
The Pakistani Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has directed channels to refrain from airing promos of Ek Tha Tiger till it gets a nod from the censor board of Pakistan. Considering Salman Khan has a huge fan base in Pakistan, aren’t you worried that the ban of the film in Pakistan will affect the film’s business?
This is the standard procedure that all countries follow. The censor board watches the movie before giving the green signal for its release in the country. Since there is a mention of ISI and RAW, it comes as no surprise that the censor board banned the trailer. However, once they watch the movie, I am sure they will come to a sane conclusion. I have watched the movie; there is nothing derogatory. There are three multiplexes in Pakistan that are all set to launch with Ek Tha Tiger. I am sure the board will take into account all these factors before giving the signal to the movie.
You are the director, cinematographer and the scriptwriter of the movie. Is it a conscious decision to be part of the technical part of the movie?
I believe that cinema is completely a director’s medium and it is a conscious decision to be part of all aspects of the film. Movie is an illusion and being part of the technical field can only ensure that this illusion looks real to the audience.
Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif have had a turbulent past because of the on, off and on again relationship they shared. How was it working with them and did you face any difficulties while shooting? How did you manage to get both the stars together?
Both the stars are thorough professionals and they shared a comfortable working relationship. Them knowing each other for the past 10 years helped me as they knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and covered each other’s mistakes. They agreed to do the movie because of the script and characters. No other actor can do justice to the role of Tiger as Salman can. There is no way that I would have even approached anyone else for the role. I had kept Katrina in mind while writing the script for the movie. Since I worked with her in New York, I was aware of what she brought to the table.
Unlike Salman’s other movies in which he reprised comic roles, Ek Tha Tiger will see him in a more serious avatar. Aren’t you worried if his character would be accepted by the audience?
Salman’s character in the movie is different from the ones that he played before. As a filmmaker, I wouldn’t want to play safe and repeat the character. I want to push the boundaries of the actors and make them do things that they haven’t done before. I want to make films that the audience will remember even after five years it’s been made. It was never a publicity gimmick to bring the lead actors together so that it will help the movie. I believe that film is bigger than the actors and got them together because they fitted the role perfectly.
Do you think this film will succeed in bringing Indians and Pakistanis closer? Or will the movie alienate the people?
My attempt is to make people think and make them aware of the issues. If I succeed in making people think and break the stereotypes, I will consider myself lucky.