The filmmaker talks to Nikita Wadhawan about working with outsiders, his new film and much more…
Filmmaker Sabbir Khan was embroiled in a rather nasty controversy after in an interview with a daily he claimed to be one of the directors chosen to be a part of Daabang 3. Which prompted Arbaaz Khan to tweet a clarification that Sabbir was never approached, followed by Sabbir dismissing his statements as rumours. The filmmaker, who made his debut with not just Bollywood but even Hollywood stars now prefers to work with newcomers. “I rather work with newcomers than stars. It’s high time we introduce newer talent in the industry,” says Sabbir. Excerpts from the interview:
Even after working with such established stars like Akshay and Kareena. Why still keep going back to Tiger?
We drive each other. We also have an emotional bond, we almost started our career together. More than that we both are all about work. We mostly speak about work and how to better it. I don’t see any actor as big or small. As an actor, they need to be interesting. When we were scripting ‘Heropanti’ towards the end we realised that we needed a new boy for this. I constantly try to introduce new talents with every film.
Over time even your relationship with his has evolved a lot, he even gifted you a luxury car. So how it feels to see your protégé succeed?
(Laughs) right now my driver is enjoying that car. But yes, I feel very proud. I used to always treat him as a younger brother. There are some things in life that can give you so much happiness and for me, that is launching Tiger and Kriti and see them grow. Bas aur kya chaliye.
Both Nidhi and Tiger are very introvert. So is it difficult to get the chemistry out of 2 people, who take time to open up?
Luckily in this movie, it was not very important for their chemistry being seen. It has to make you feel like is it there or not there? But over time they have become very good friends. Also, I don’t think that there is anyone who cannot get along with Tiger, once you know him you will just love him.
Does Tiger’s equation change with different co-stars?
No, I think he is just the same. The way he has bonded with Niddhi and was the same with Kriti as well. With Kriti it was more emotional as it was their first film, with Niddhi he took care of her as he was slightly senior to her. He always pushed her to do better.
How was your experience working with Nawaz?
I wanted to pull him out of his comfort zone. When I went with the story to him, I thought either he will not like it or he will get really excited. Luckily he got very excited even before I finished the narration. So throughout the film I had a lot of fun, he was completely into the film but we all waiting for the part where he will have to dance. So every time that portion came up he would request to push the scene to another day. Eventually we of course shot for it and it was a lot of fun.
You have worked with Sylvester Stallone and now tiger is doing Rambo, do what went on in your head when you heard about this?
He actually told me before everybody else got to know. I was shocked, because I have worked with Sylvester and worked with Tiger, and wondered has the world become so small. I am the biggest Sylvester fan that I why he was in my first film, and even till date, I cannot believe it.
After your first film Kambakkht Ishq in 2009, do you feel that content in a film matters more than star power now?
Somewhere you can say yes. I made my first film with stars and it did not successes. In the end of the day, it was all about the film and the content. After Kambakkht Ishq, I took some time off and reinvented myself. I focused on the content and then I saw that it worked even with newcomers. I think that content teamed up with your favourite star is the ultimate for the viewer. If I am a fan of Salman Khan then for me, if the film had a good story then it is gold.
Your films till now have been in the commercial category, do you like this genre or do you want to explore other avenues as well?
I don’t know what this is. I just try to find an interesting story and I try to tell it in the most entertaining fashion. If I go for a movie, I want the content and the director to entertain me throughout the film. If that is considered a type of film then I want to continue doing that.
We all talk about nepotism in front of the camera, but what about behind the scenes, have you experienced that?
I think too much has been said about nepotism. If a business woman’s daughter loves the way her mother works and wants to follow in her footsteps how does that matter, so everybody in the house is influenced by their parents. But I haven’t experienced it behind the camera. The movie industry is a very cut throat business and no one is interested in whose son or daughter you are, only your talent.
You have trained with Mahesh Bhatt and David Dhawan, and now his children are in the industry, so would you in future want to collaborate with them?
They both have been a mentor to me. I have seen their children grow up, I am as proud of them as I am of Tiger. Alia and Varun are the heartthrobs of the country, and any director would want to work with them, not just me. If given an opportunity worthy of them, why not.
Unlike actor filmmakers are not very competitive. But at one point they used be loggerheads…
I think it has a lot to do with education. The current breed of filmmakers are dignified enough to appreciate other people’s work.
After so many years, looking back if you had to give one advice to your younger self what would you give him?
At that time, I was dying to become a director. I did not want anything else. Today where I am, is like a dream come true for me. But I would tell my younger self – trust me, you are going to get there.