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Last Updated 05.10.2022 | 2:32 PM IST



30 Years Of Khiladi EXCLUSIVE: “There was no buyer for our film. We released it ourselves. We also spent on print and publicity from our own pockets” – Ratan Jain

Bollywood News

30 years ago, Khiladi was released on June 5, 1992, and it turned out to be a surprise box office hit. The film gave a boost to the careers of Akshay Kumar, director-duo Abbas-Mustan, and it also marked the grand entry of Venus Records and Tapes. Khiladi was the banner’s first film and its super-success ensured that the Jain brothers then never looked back.

30 Years Of Khiladi EXCLUSIVE: “There was no buyer for our film. We released it ourselves. We also spent on print and publicity from our own pockets” – Ratan Jain

On Khiladi’s 30th anniversary, producer Ratan Jain spoke exclusively to Bollywood Hungama about the film and a lot more.

Why were you credited under ‘Special Thanks’ and not mentioned as one of the producers of Khiladi?
Girish Jain is my younger brother. So, in our first film, we decided to credit him as the producer. I handle the film production department in our company, Venus. Hum kisi ek bhai ka naam de dete hai as producer. Usse koi fark padta nahi thaSaath hi ‘Venus presents’ mention kar dete the shuru mein.

Arbaaz Khan had mentioned that he was offered the lead role in Khiladi.
No, this is not true

As per the details on the internet, Ronit Roy was almost finalized for the role which was played by Khiladi. Is that true?
This is also not true. Akshay Kumar was the only choice. In the Screen magazine, the advertisement of his film Chura Lenge Aankhon Se Kaajal, directed by Vijay Anand, was published. That film never got made. It starred Akshay Kumar and Karisma Kapoor. I saw Akshay in that picture, and I thought that yeh ladka accha hai. I met him and immediately we decided to cast him.

It is also said that Pooja Bedi turned down the lead female role?
No. I didn’t even know Pooja Bedi then. We had seen rushes of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992), after which we signed Ayesha Jhulka for the role of Neelam.

Khiladi didn’t have a famous star cast. However, the music was quite a hit. I am sure it must have helped the makers to create a pre-release buzz…
Definitely. In those days, music was an indispensable aspect of a film. Agar music achcha nahi hai, toh film ke chalne ke aasaar kam ho jaate the. For us, getting the songs right was very crucial. Khair aaj kal ke filmon mein itne gaane nahi hote (smiles). Uss waqt toh gaane ke bagair filmein nahi hoti thi. 5-6 songs were required in all films.

It is said that Khiladi didn’t get a distributor. Why did that happen?
This is because there were certain reputed actors and producers who had signed contracts with distributors. These actors and producers also churned out films at regular intervals. Also, any distributor would wonder why they’d buy a film which doesn’t have famous names in the star cast? Even the director duo Abbas-Mustan were not known. Therefore, there was no buyer. So, we released it ourselves via the distributors. We also spent on print and publicity from our own pockets. Matlab distributor ne kahin bhi apna ek naya paisa kharch nahi kiya.

We faced another problem. Each film needs to have a main theatre in South Mumbai like Novelty, Eros, Metro etc. We didn’t get any of these cinema halls. Our main theatre was Sundaram, located in the Satyam-Sundaram-Sachinam complex in Worli. Our premiere was held there as well. Later, in weeks 2 and 3, Khiladi managed to release in a main theatre as word of mouth spread. The same challenge we faced in Delhi as well.

It’s a coincidence that Khiladi’s main theatre was in the Satyam-Sundaram-Sachinam complex. After all, in Khiladi, Akshay Kumar and Deepak Tijori hide Sabeeha’s body in the parking lot of Satyam cinema!
(Laughs) Yes!

However, Deepak Tijori was a big name by then, right? Did his presence also didn’t attract distributors?
He was big but not that at the level that his name would help us get buyers. Even today, there are several talented actors, but can they help sell the film? Moreover, Deepak Tijori was an actor, not a star.

Did you visit cinema halls to check the feedback?
Yes, for sure. Viewers used to enjoy watching the film. Even the reviews were quite positive. If Khiladi hadn’t worked, we wouldn’t have been in this position today.

People in theatres must have got shocked on seeing Ananth Mahadevan as the killer. I guess many predicted that Prem Chopra is the killer…
(Laughs) Not just Prem Chopra, viewers even assumed that Shakti Kapoor has murdered the girl, even though he was Akshay Kumar’s brother. However, his image was such that they naturally felt that he must be the culprit!

Would you like to remake Khiladi?
Firstly, for that, you need a proper script. Until the script doesn’t justify the title, the film won’t work. Yes, several filmmakers made films with Khiladi in the title. Our friend, Pravin Shah of Time, made Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996). Even we made a film titled Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994). Even that title was inspired by Khiladi. In today’s times, if somebody wants to make a film titled Khiladitoh ek kamaal ki script honi chahiye. Khiladi usually means a player. But in a film titled Khiladi, the character needs to be something who plays a deadly game, or rather, a game of life and death. It’s difficult to get a script like that in today’s times.

Khiladi must have given a boost to Akshay Kumar’s career. Is that right?
Indeed. Khiladi was Akshay Kumar’s first box office hit. Before that, not a single film of his had worked.

You had filed a case against the makers of Ravi Teja-starrer Khiladi (2022) for using the title ‘Khiladi’ without permission. Any latest update on this case?
The case is still going on. The hearing is complete. The judgement will be out soon.

Any final thoughts on Khiladi on its 30th anniversary?
We made Khiladi at a time when we didn’t even know what film production is. Ek jazbaa tha ki humein bhi film banani hai. Fortunately, it worked big time and that’s how our production activity started. After Khiladi, we came up with Baazigar in 1993 followed by Main Khiladi Tu Anari in 1994. It was a hattrick of success for Venus. Baazigar was a bigger hit than KhiladiMain Khiladi Tu Anari was also a great success. Also, all these three films were even musical hits.

More Pages: Khiladi Box Office Collection


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