While Dabangg proved to be a runaway hit, Salman Khan is hoping to create magic at the box office once again with the film’s sequel. And this time around, he has entrusted his ambitious project into the hands of his brother Arbaaz. We caught up with the debutant director at Mehboob Studios to talk about controversies and working with Salman.
Your debut film as a director started on a controversial note with Abhinav Kashyap walking out of the film...
When we met to plan Dabangg’s sequel, it was expected that he would be directing the film and we also had some discussions and toyed with a few ideas. In that bargain a few weeks after our meeting, I got a message from him that he was not very keen to direct and opted out for personal reasons.
What caused him to leave? Was he hurt?
That is his personal issue, which I don’t know about. I am, not aware ke aisa kya hua hai ke he would be hurt. But after he left there was a void that needed to be filled and after much deliberation I felt that I should take charge. I spoke to Salman and he felt that I am closer to the film and I always wanted to turn director. I took up the challenge and here I am.
You met Abhinav recently. Did you speak to him?
I met him last week and we had a long chat. He told me that he wanted to move on as he thought that he would get stuck in on making the second part and then the third... I am not aware of any other personal, professional or financial issue. It was his choice (to leave) and I am fine with his decision.
Does the success of Dabangg add to the expectations from this film?
Mein nahi karta aur koi bhi karta to bhi usko har kissi ko jawab dena padta. But I agree I have to still prove how I would do it, as I have not directed a film yet.
Normally sequels do not have the same leading girl...
We toyed with a lot of ideas. There was a possibility of a different situation and different characters but I felt that the strength of Chulbul Pandey is in his family and his people. So we went ahead with Chaubhe, Tiwari, Rajjo, Prajapati and Makhi.
The film is expected to cross the Rs 200 crore mark.
To a certain extent it makes me feel good but it also adds a little pressure. People are already expecting so much. I have done my best and that’s how you play the game.
You had the options to sell the film but you are releasing it on your own...
The market is changing drastically. It would have been unfair to put a value to the film, especially when today’s theatrical numbers are very encouraging. I also did not feel the need to find the funding as it is a successful franchise and we have ensured the amount from sales through satellite, overseas and music. Making a film is one thing and the business part of it is another.
How much is Salman involved in the making of the film?
Salman is a big star and he has his own audience. He has the knowledge and experience and he has his own take on certain scenes. Sometime there was a discussion and sometime a debate and whoever was convincing enough had his way.