By Sugandha Rawal
Panaji, Nov 23:
Weaving in a story with a “real-life context” and with superstars in mainstream cinema is quite a challenge, says filmmaker Kabir Khan, known for films like “Kabul Express”, “New York” and the blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”.
“Commercial success is important, because in the end I’m making cinema. The struggle and challenge is to get slightly real cinema into mainstream cinema — to be able to make real context films with the superstars,” Kabir, who worked with superstar Salman Khan in “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, told IANS on the sidelines of Film Bazaar here.
Kabir has successfully accomplished the challenge with his craft. He says a film’s box office performance is important as it instils risk-taking ability among filmmakers.
“Box office numbers help in creating more avenues. As a filmmaker who has commercial success, it is easier for me to push through ideas which are different. If I didn’t have the success of ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ or ‘New York’, I would not have had the courage or others would not have confidence in me to do something like ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. They would suggest me to play safe,” he added.
But according to Kabir, while commercial success is important, it shouldn’t be the sole parameter to judge a film’s fate.
“There are so many other things and hard work that go into a film, which is not always necessarily translated into box office success.”
Kabir, who set foot in Bollywood in 2006 with “Kabul Express”, spun magic with his heart-warming story of a mute Pakistani girl and a Hindu man with his last directorial “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”.
He took Bollywood’s “Dabangg” star Salman on an emotional journey of discovering love, fondness and respect for other religions, with his vision. The result? The audience joined in the trip and helped etch a new chapter of success in the history of cinema as the film minted over Rs.600 crore worldwide.
After its screening at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival in South Korea last month, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” entertained the attendees of the 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here on Sunday. Kabir also shared his experience of shooting with superstars, at a session of Film Bazaar here.
He said that no superstar is bigger than a story.
Kabir, who has also worked with Salman in “Ek Tha Tiger”, asserted that different layers of politics or real context gives an interesting angle to the story, thus appealing to the audience.
“With my documentary background, I always try to have a real context with my films. As an audience, when I used to watch mainstream cinema I used to feel alienated to the fact that there is no context to the story.
“So when I got an opportunity to make mainstream cinema I thought let me try and bring the context to what the story is – political context, historical context. I feel fortunate that most of my films have found larger audience. The super success of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, which has layers of social and political context, shows that audience want to enjoy that,” said Kabir, who is married to popular television host Mini Mathur.
With a third project with Salman in mind, as well as finding an apt script for Hrithik Roshan, Kabir is in prep mode and scouting for stories.
He signed off by saying that at present he is travelling, holidaying, going to various film festivals with “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and is “open to all ideas”.
“I think I will be ready in a month or two”.
(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of National Film Development Corporation of India. Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at [email protected])