Shah Rukh Khan
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Having worked with Yash Raj Films on back-to-back three films, Ali Abbas Zafar is known for being a director with contemporary approach. His films have always matched to the likings of the youngsters, a progressive perspective makes his film and him more relatable to the audience. While Ali is known for his light hearted film like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, it is unusual that he got a chance to work with Salman on his third film. Well, a director so promising, Ali Abbas in an interaction talks about his experience of working with the biggest names of Bollywood.
Aditya Chopra told me if Salman refuses to do the film, then we will cancel on our plans to make Sultan. But I was hopeful, I explained Salman the entire script in half-an-hour. Salman is very good with emotions, he heard the story and after two minutes he agreed to do the film. I was like ‘chalo ek aur film toh bani’. There is a lot of pressure to convince an actor to do a film. So yes, I decided to do the film back in 2012, but Salman told me that he will do this film when he turns 50. And he kept his word.
I spent some time with Salman before we started shooting for the film, so by the time we began shooting, Salman and I knew each other well. I associate Salman with honesty, he will only take up something if he likes it. He has a very strong connect with his audience. The first day of our shoot was Salman entering in a wrestling ring wearing a langot. And when Salman entered, he saw a crowd of six thousand people and so he refused to shoot. He said that he thought that there will only be around 50 people and the rest will be added through VFX. I wanted the scene to look real, but Salman refused to shoot at all. He then came out covering himself in a bathing robe, and told me that even if one person from the crowd screams he will walk out. I informed the crew members to tell the crowd not to scream or else I will have to pack up. And then Salman entered and nobody from the crowd said a word, and post that I think Salman felt comfortable wearing the langot.
Anushka really liked the role on paper, but she was still skeptical when it came to wrestling. She was happy that the she was given equal prominence in the film as opposed to the actresses in Salman’s previous films. I had done my research properly and I showed her the YouTube videos of girls wrestling. I explained her that wrestling is a weight category game and so you will wrestle with someone who probably has a similar frame. And with this I hope girls in the many states that I visited, after watching Sultan will now be allowed to follow their dreams of becoming a wrestler.
Adi doesn’t interfere at all. In all the three films that I’ve made, I have taken my own decisions. But sometimes when you get too involved in your work you don’t see it from a lay man’s perspective, and that is where Adi comes in. He will tell you that the film is not shaping up the way it should for the audience.
There is no pressure as such; I felt the pressure only during the release of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. That was my first film and I thought if I’d fail in this then I will never be able to make my career.
I do not look in to how much will the film will earn. My work will start from Monday as the film makes business on weekends due to its star power.
By Stuti Srivastava
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