Most of us don’t take history very favourably. But little do we realize, that it is the subject that pretty much shapes our existence today. In a conversation with famed Bollywood director, Kabir Khan we learn, “I am a huge history Junkie, and never shied away from delving deep into understanding the nuances of history, as that’s what makes who we are today.” Kabir Khan made his debut as a Bollywood filmmaker in 2006, with the film titled ‘Kabul Express. He has also directed other noteworthy films such as ‘New York’, ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, and ‘Tubelight’.
The Saga Continued
Kabir Khan started his career as a documentary filmmaker, with the Discovery Channel. He worked with numerous stalwarts in the industry. “I have enjoyed my stint as a documentary filmmaker, and have learned and travelled extensively while making ‘The Forgotten Army’ (the documentary film). In an exchange with the retired soldiers who participated in the Second World War, I’ve garnered some very interesting insights that left an indelible imprint on my mind. Even after completing the documentary, I have been toying around with the idea of doing something more profound with the information gathered on the formation of the Indian National Army, and India’s role in the Second World War. The stories I have heard, have encouraged me to weave in Maya and Sodhi’s romance and which is how the ‘Forgotten Army – Aazadi Ke Liye’ came into being.
The Indian population has a very structured view of History. India’s role in the Second World War has practically gone missing from most textbooks. So, how does a filmmaker like Kabir Khan make people believe that what they were watching is actually true! “Yes indeed most of us do tend to dawn on horses blinders when it comes to historical facts. This is simply because our resources for research on the subject is limited. It is a risk I’ve taken by chartering on to very different waters, but that’s what makes it even more exciting. Keeping this in mind, I have managed to procure archival video’s and other media, that I’ve embedded in the series, to support the facts; ensuring the progression of the series!” adds, Kabir.
On inquiring about his take on the growing digital space, the ace director promptly replies, “With the digital era setting in, it has become so much easier to show things that are different, and very out of the box! I love this space! Concerning ‘The Forgotten Army’ I was earlier thinking of making a film, but a 2.5 to 3 hours film wouldn’t do justice! A series format gives me the freedom to give the plot a lot more flavour. The web-series format is picking up really fast among the urban Indian’s. The trick lies in devising a compelling plot.” Being a noteworthy filmmaker, it would have been very easy to involve, and legendary actors coming and playing the role. “Personally I myself was hoping to work with newer people, to add flavour to the series, and Amazon insisted on the same too, hence things worked in the right direction there!”
In the future, we look forward to Kabir Khan’s, ‘83’, a biopic based on the legendary spinner Kapil Dev, starring Ranveer Singh. Kabir adds, “Ranveer has this very infectious energy around him, and I love the energy he exuberates. He is delivering very well in the film, and I totally look forward to the release of the film.” Being the history buff, the ace director does have many other things in the pipeline, but he’d like to take things, one at a time, and aims at delivering quality.