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Last Updated 24.07.2024 | 5:51 PM IST



Kabir Khan on meeting Murlikant Petkar, “His son asked, ‘Will you make the film while he is still around?’”

en Bollywood News Kabir Khan on meeting Murlikant Petkar, “His son asked, ‘Will you make the film while he is still around?’”

Last week before the film released, the real Chandu Champion Murlikant Petkar saw the film. According to the director Kabir Khan, it was a very emotional moment. “He's around. He's 80- plus. He lives in the outskirts of Pune. I showed it to him some days ago. Him sitting there, a foot soldier of the Indian Army, flanked by the Chief of Army Staff. It was such a warm feeling. And he lost count of the number of Brigadiers and Major Generals that were there to see his film. Imagine them standing up and introducing a foot soldier of the Indian Army. Amazing,” said Kabir Khan.

Kabir Khan on meeting Murlikant Petkar, “His son asked, ‘Will you make the film while he is still around?’”

Kabir Khan on meeting Murlikant Petkar, “His son asked, ‘Will you make the film while he is still around?’”

He added, “He was a puddle of tears. He obviously just loved it. His son came in and spoke again and everything. But he was very happy. He came and told me the next morning when I met him, he said, I got Padma Shri, but now everyone is saying that after watching your film, I will get Bharat Ratna. He's a man who was not given his due. So, for him to finally get this, I think even after Padma Shri, of course, life did change after Padma Shri. Still, really, nobody knew about him.”

Kabir recalled the exact moment when he got to know about Murlikant Petkar. “Somebody handed me this article, I read it. First, I said, this is rubbish. I said, this is a figment of someone's imagination. There's no way a man like this exists. You couldn't believe that one man could achieve all of this. I couldn't believe that if a man like this existed and achieved what he did, there's no way we could not know him. And I, like, in a certain sense pride myself on being pretty aware of things around me. I consider myself well-read. I consider myself well-informed. I said, how can I not know this man? After, if he's done what he's done, if he's done so much, how come we don't know about him? I said, so then where is this person? Nobody had the faintest idea of where he was. How can it be that you don't know where he is and there's an article like this?”

Kabir Khan on meeting Murlikant Petkar, “His son asked, ‘Will you make the film while he is still around?’”

“Then I sort of forgot about it,” said the filmmaker. “There's no way you can make a story like this unless it's verified. But I couldn't get it out of my mind. And then, thanks to my documentary days, I just had to find out about this man. I said, please go and find this man. And two months later, I got a call saying that he lives outside Pune. It was the time between the two COVID lockdowns. I just got in my car and I drove off. And in four hours, I reached his residence. And I was trying to see him. He was a little hesitant, you know, about this whole Bollywood thing. A couple of people had gotten in touch with him earlier, apparently. It didn't work out.”

“So he was a little wary, but fortunately, it seemed to work out and he really enjoyed it. So, he said, ‘Yeah, we'll meet’. I told him. And you know, when his son actually asked, he said, sir, just one condition. Will you make it while he is still around? And at that moment, I told him, I promise you, this is my next film. Right. What he meant is, he obviously had a bit of a taste of Bollywood and he realized people just buy rights by giving you ten rupees and then sitting on it. I promised him that I will make it. The difference between them and you is that you are not commodifying him. You're actually humanizing him. Also, I guess the difference between me, and somebody is because I'm a filmmaker myself and I'm taking it then I'm taking it only because I want to make it,” he said.

Kabir Khan on meeting Murlikant Petkar, “His son asked, ‘Will you make the film while he is still around?’”

Kabir shares what he looks for in his filmmaking. “I really don't know because for me, what I enjoy is a very strong human story, a very strong underdog story,” he said. “So, whether it comes in a fictional format like a Bajrangi... That is what really gets my attention. And Chandu, so for sure, I will not classify it as a sports film. He goes through so many different lives in one lifetime. He's a wrestler, soldier, boxer. He's a swimmer. There are so many aspects to his life. But the one common thing is this unbelievable conviction of, you know, following his dream and his passion to the point of, like, the brunt of jokes.”

Kabir Khan added, “But it's his dream. It's like life throws everything at you and you push back hard. I hope that this one finds its audience because I think it deserves a very wide audience. You know, it's not a niche, delimited film that will be hugely enjoyed by the entire family. Very inspirational and therefore very connectible. What hit me about the story was, oh my God, there's such happening throughout the film. So much adventure. Such dark spaces he goes into and yet there's always hope and optimism. He never drags you down. He's always hitting back and elevating, like no matter how low he pulled down by life.”

Also Read: Kabir Khan reacts to lukewarm opening for Kartik Aaryan starrer Chandu Champion: “The slow start did throw us off balance”

More Pages: Chandu Champion Box Office Collection , Chandu Champion Movie Review


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