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Shabinaa Khan
Shabinaa Khan started her career as a fashion designer and then made the switch over to producing feature films. She’s already been behind super hits like ROWDY RATHORE and GABBAR IS BACK. Both of her earlier productions had Akshay Kumar in the lead and this time around too she’s got Akshay leading the charge in her next titled LAXMMI BOMB! We at Super Cinema spoke to the dynamic producer in the time of a global pandemic keeping all social distancing norms in place. Read on for excerpts.

How did the journey of LAXMMI BOMB begin?
The journey actually started 5 years ago. I watched Kanchana and really really loved it. So I wanted to purchase the rights of the film to remake it for the Hindi market.

What was the one thing in the original that made her pick the film and wanted to remake it?
The thing that struck me the most about Kanchana was the fact that it addressed the social issue of transgenders. There are loads of horror-comedies on similar lines but what intrigued me the most was that in this film the main character gets possessed by a transgender and why he starts behaving the way he does, is what inspired me to make this film.

How was the process once Akshay Kumar came on board the film?
When Akshay came on board he was completely involved from the get-go. He was with us right from when we sat on the script and screenplay as a team and reworked it to suit the Hindi market, while maintaining the essence of the original.

This is your third film in a producer capacity with Akshay what kind of changes did you see in him from Rowdy Rathore to this?
The only change I’ve seen in Akshay is that in Rowdy Rathore he gave his 100% and now in our third collaboration together he gave his 300%. His enthusiasm and energy is more and his involvement and inputs have doubled. It’s amazing working with Akshay because he’s on the ball and inspires you to run faster as a producer to match his energy and excitement.

Due to Covid and lockdown how much of a difficult decision was it to send the film direct to OTT and not have a traditional release?
It was difficult to let go of the conventional theatrical release and release it on an OTT platform but considering the situation it was the best decision we could take. I believe OTT is the future and it will be interesting for audiences to have a commercial masala film on the platform. I’m looking forward to see how this pans out myself. I’m equally excited because we are making our foray into a whole new medium so I’m happy to be a part of this new movement into the digital world. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping and praying everyday to see if this film makes history as the first successful masala commercial entertainer on an OTT platform.

How long do you reckon will it take things to get back to normal in terms of theatrical release and audiences coming back to cinemas to see the film?
I’m hoping that by January 2021 we should be creeping back to normalcy and hopefully people could get back to theatres.

You and Akshay have already delivered two hits together with Laxmmi Bomb do you feel you’ll will be third time lucky?
I hope Akshay and I score a hat-trick. He has been my lucky mascot, trusted me as a newbie-producer and I hope this film merits the same or a better reaction than we received for the trailer. We got so many amazing responses and feedback on the trailer and it was truly humbling and overwhelming. So we hope the film lives up to and surpasses the kind of love the trailer received.

What are the challenges involved in being one of the leading and few female producers in the Hindi film industry?
Sometimes people don’t like to hear a woman’s perspective on a certain situation, so that might be a hurdle for women producers. However, I believe if you know your job and your opinions and inputs make sense, you will be taken seriously. So in that sense I haven’t faced such huge hurdles so far thankfully.

Lastly what are your expectations with the film now given the fact that you can’t have a box-office number to reflect on how good the film has worked!
If I’ve learnt one thing it’s to make the film ‘chaka chak’ and deliver it and leave the rest to God; so I’m doing exactly that. I hope our effort transcends into the biggest success for the film, that’s what every producer wants for his/her film.

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