Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar
Popularly known for his elongated, amazing body of work as a choreographer, Ahmed Khan hasn’t still limited himself to just that. He produces, writes and yet again is back to directing after the 2007 release ‘Fool And Final’. We catch up with the multi-talented man to talk about his latest film, ‘Baaghi 2’….
“Producers should work backwards. They should figure out the budget first and think about what the recovery of the movie would be”
What have been your expectations from the film?
We always aim towards the goal post, and it’s never sure if you will hit there, but we’ve all been very positive about the film considering the vibe that the trailer generated.
How has the film evolved from the script level to the final product?
When we started out with the film, we knew that we were making the sequel of ‘Baaghi’ and it’s known for its action. So, definitely, it had to have that hardcore action and many notches higher but what we’ve done is, we thought let’s attempt something that will shock the audience, but let’s not just give them an action film, let’s also give them a story. So, the film started with the thought of being an action film but as it evolved, it grew into a story. It has so much of story, that even if you remove the action from it, there’s still a full-fledged plot. This is what we wanted to give to the audience, despite the fact that action is the film’s USP. That’s what we used to see in the 90s wherein, the action was mixed with great content – films like ‘Ghayal’, ‘Ghatak’, ‘Narsimha’, ‘Tezaab’ and more. These films used to have a story for the action to work.
You’ve gotten to direction after a while…
Absolutely, my last directorial venture, ‘Fool and Final’ came in 2007 and I thought let me take a break, because I’m not just a director. I’m a choreographer, I judge reality shows, I produced two films in between – ‘Paathshala’ and ‘Leela’. And all that work used to keep me occupied. Every year I would get a film to direct, but I used to always think, ‘aree karte hai na baadmein’ so in that process, a lot of time passed. And then when I thought of making a film, I thought, it has to be with today’s trends, today’s times, today’s boy. Earlier I’ve made multi-starrers only. But now, Tiger is the new heartthrob and if he wants to work with me, then I’m definitely required. And if a producer like Sajid Nadiadwala offers you, there’s no reason to even think. That’s why I said yes to the film.
You’ve been here for a while doing different things and seen how the scenario around has changed. So, how have you managed to keep yourself updated and be in sync with the current demands of the audience?
I came into Bollywood with a film like ‘Rangeela’ and that time even in my 20s, I had thought I better bring in something new or else I rather not be in this field. That’s been my mindset all this while. Today, I’m 43 so if you see, today also my thought process is that way, evolve, change, do something new. That’s why I did a disco song like ‘Dhan Te Nan’. For me, I like to do something which is a bit ahead of time. Secondly, my son is 16 now, so he is also like a teacher in the house. Kids at home these days keep you updated.
How do your sensibilities as a choreographer, producer and director differ? And yet, what is it that still remains the same?
Every human is living with mixed emotions and a diverse thought. And with me, I’m a DOP, writer, producer, director and choreographer. So, I live with five people within me. But what I’ve done is, I’ve got those five people together and said that ultimately you are working for a movie. So, do what is required for a film at that point in time. For example, if I’m doing an action sequence, then I should use my choreography skills in that action, and enhance that action. I can sit with my DOP and give my inputs. So, ultimately, I use my different sides to enhance the film. All these things are happening with each other so it only helps.
Having someone like a Tiger Shroff itself raises the expectations as far as action is concerned, but what was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was to mount the action up to a level that I had conceived; to prepare so much and execute. I can conceive that I want to bring a chopper and make Tiger jump from it. But the execution is a different ball game. Whether a chopper will be allowed at that location, where will the crane come from? And so many factors and risks come into play. But I didn’t change anything and executing all that was a challenge, which I was up for! I took it all upfront.
Talking about action, films are now getting into the space of some real action like the 90s, and actors like Tiger Shroff have a role to play in it. Did you also work with that in mind?
Absolutely! When you have an actor like him who doesn’t need cables to jump, who doesn’t need ten days to prepare for a bare bodied shot, so we are not handicapped as makers. Then our job is just to execute. And ‘Baaghi 2’ has a lot of 90s action.
Being a producer as well, what do you think is the biggest challenge which producers are facing today?
Producers should work backwards. They should figure out the budget first and think about what the recovery of the movie would be and then proceed. Only then they should put their emotions, creativity, time into it, once you lock down your goal. When a film flops, they curse people but then you should take time to figure things out yourself first.
‘Baaghi 3’ has also been announced, so is that what you’d start with, next?
I’m doing a television show right now and it’s being done in a big manner so that’s keeping me busy, so then later, I will start working on the script of ‘Baaghi 3’.