It was great to see Kabir Khan at the media centre at the Sheraton hotel in New York for the ongoing IIFA festivities. He looked fresh and in great spirits. In a freewheeling chat with Bollywood Hungama’s Content Head Broadband Faridoon Shahryar, Kabir broke silence on Tubelight and how it is unfair to over judge a film’s Box Office fate. He expressed displeasure with regards to the crab mentality within the film industry. He also spoke about his future plans.
Kabir you have done a film called New York and you are in New York. How does it feel?
It feels really great. New York always has special memories because New York was one of my biggest commercial successes. At that point of time, many said that it was a hard film to do as it had a hardcore politics as a backdrop. But, we went ahead and made it. It was an underdog film which went onto do great business at the Box-Office. New York was also one of Nawazuddin Siddiqui‘s films which made everyone stand up and take notice of him.
I personally loved Tubelight. What is your response to people judging things in terms of Box Office? Do you feel it is unfair to judge a film in terms of box office numbers all the time? There have been examples when the movies have sustained in people’s memories several years after their release.
Absolutely. We put too much emphasis on the Box-Office success. For example, my film Kabul Express, which made the least amount of money of all my films, is still remembered today. There are many times when people come to me and say that Kabul Express happens to be their favourite film. It’s lived all these years and that’s what makes it special. You have to make films with conviction. As long as you are proud of your film it finds appreciation.
There are people in the film industry who are reveling in the fact that ‘Tubelight’ is not having the box office numbers that was expected. Do you think that this crab mentality that we have in this industry is bothersome. ‘Baahar waale toh kar hi rahe hai jo kar raahe hai’ but people from industry are really enthusiastic about someone else coming down?
It’s unfortunate, but, one just can’t help it. I remember a Hollywood actor once said, ‘To be successful, it’s not necessary that you be successful, it’s important that your rivals fail.’ Even though its human behaviour, it’s unfortunate. At the end of the day, I have never seen anybody’s career becoming better by another person’s failure. Ultimately, it’s your own triumph and success which will take you places. When a Baahubali breaks every single record, it’s a moment of exhilaration for us. We should all be rooting for every film to be successful. I know it’s not possible, but, we should always celebrate other people’s success.
Your next is not a feature film it’s a special project. Could you tell us about that?
Yes I am doing a series with Amazon; It’s a very ambitious project in terms of his scale and budget. It’s probably bigger than two of my top films put together. It deals with one of the most fascinating chapters of the Indian history from the period between 1942-45. It’s about the time when around 55 men and women joined the army called ‘Aazaad Hind Fauj’ and fought against the British forces for India’s independence. It was a story which was never told to us as it was censored by the British. That’s why I have titled it as The Forgotten Army. I am trying to tell the story through the perspective of the foot soldiers and not the leaders. We will be shooting it extensively in Thailand, Singapore and Burma. I am really looking forward to it. Amazon is a great platform for this story as it’s a very compelling story. It will be showcased from 204 countries when it releases. So yes it’s a special thing.
People would love to know what you are doing next on your feature film. You’ll be starting it by the end of next year?
I am going to be announcing it very soon as I can’t make a premature announcement. It’s a very exciting story based on a true story. It’s one of those stories which changed our country. I have already started working on it. I can’t announce anything about it.
How important is Self-Belief for a creative person that no matter if you encounter success or failure you don’t lose your equanimity?
It’s the most important; because it’s a tough industry out here and people would be willing to pull you down if take one step wrong. So self-belief is the most important thing for a creative person. That’s the only way you can get your conviction through. If you don’t have self-belief you are going to get swayed by a lot of people and you will lose your way.