Kurbaan (more photos, videos, songs)
Karan, is Kurbaan a film that will break format for Dharma Productions?
Actually, Kurbaan as a story has been with me since the time of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. It′s a film that I have tried to develop with other directors before, Nikhil worked on it for a while, then Soham did too. But it never fell into place like I wanted it to. Then over a casual conversation with Rensil D′Silva, I discussed the storyline and he got really excited about it. He offered to develop it as a ten-page screenplay. When he finished it, I was really impressed. And since he is an accomplished ad filmmaker, I asked him to direct it too. Kurbaan is not a conscious break format film for us; we have been trying to break out of the usual for a while now. But it just happened to be developed now.
When you turn producer for a film of this kind, which requires authentic shooting in locations, what are the necessary steps that you have to take?
When I turned producer, I realized three things. Delegate, trust and outsource. Once you green light a script, your role in the creative process is not significant. Of course when you are a director yourself, there is always that urge to interfere and put in your inputs. But that′s something you have to curb. Once you trust someone, you have to let go. Be it Kurbaan′s syntax, Wake Up Sid′s general world or Dostana′s milieu, each film from Dharma has the director′s vision throughout. Going on sets doesn′t help. As I see it now, a producer′s role is right at the beginning of the film when you green light a script, and then right at the very end when you plan out release strategy and marketing. The film′s vision has to be the director′s throughout.
What are the two things that sets Kurbaan apart?
After watching the film, I can confidently say that Kurbaan is a one of its kind films in the Hindi genre. It′s not a non-stop thriller, yet it′s got a constant element of a thriller. It′s also not an all out emotional story, but it′s got very intense emotions at the core. Usually, our films are non-stop thrillers or complete emotional stories. Kurbaan has the edge of the seat quality in some scenes, and yet, its love story is the mainstay. It′s been shot exquisitely and by any global standards, it′s a film to be proud of. Its gets you thrilled, and yet move you. And I think that′s what audiences will remember this film for.
Casting Saif and Kareena was a coup. How did you manage that?
For me it wasn′t a coup, as they are both my friends. We didn′t cast Saif - Kareena for the film because of their real romance. I never cast anyone keeping that in mind, as I believe that sometimes a lot of off screen comfort translates to cinematic discomfort. In this case, we cast Saif Ali Khan, the actor and Kareena Kapoor, the actress. They fit the roles perfectly. The fact that they are my friends helped, because the film has some portions where they needed to trust in me a lot. There being friends with both of them came in handy.
Besides them, the ensemble cast of the film, be it Vivek Oberoi, Kirron Kher or Om Puri, is very strong. Is it a conscious effort to cast recognized faces?
Not in the case of Kurbaan. Each actor- be it Kirron Kher, Vivek Oberoi or Om Puri - have very significant roles. So we needed to have good performers. It′s a film that has a lot of strong silences, unlike the usual plot of long dialogue sheets. Acting becomes that much easier when you have loads of dialogues to use as a crutch. But silences are difficult to convey, which is why our casting director Shanu Sharma worked tirelessly, to get the right actors. We had given each character a lot of thought and only then, decided on each actor.
Shooting in the US was difficult due to permission problems. How did you deal with that?
A lot of pain and turbulence has gone into deciding and then getting the right locations for this film. The theme is global terrorism, so a lot of locations are obviously very careful about granting us permission to shoot. In America, particularly, they require the information of what we plan to shoot in great detail. It′s a fair concern, so we took it very seriously. Eventually, with a lot of credit to the director, the production team, we organized the locations. Making this film wasn′t easy. There were two long, tough schedules in the US. But in the end the film has come out beautifully.
You have moved up your release date to 20th November to avoid a clash with De Dana Dan, Why?
I have no ego, as a producer to admit that when any two films can avoid a clash one should. At the end of the day, we are dividing the audiences if we release both films on the same Friday. Initially, we had decided on the holiday weekend, but the 20th November weekend was empty. So we moved it up, and everyone is happy with the decision. Akshay, Katrina and Priyadarshan are a team with a huge track record. So are we, but if we all can benefit by a small change in release dates, I will always go with that.
Finally, what is the real story of My Name is Khan?
It really is too early to talk about MNIK, but I would like to clearly state that My Name is Khan, I not about terrorism. I don′t know where that story came from. At the heart of it all, it′s a very intense love story between Rizwan and Mandira, played by Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. It′s about a man′s love for his wife, and his journey. Why he undertakes that journey, what he is trying to tell through that journey, is something that I would want an audience to decide.
Thanks a lot.