Sabbir Khan
No. of Profile Views 22,682

As a middle class boy, I dreamt of getting a chance to make one film: Sabbir Khan

By HT

He started off as a director with Kambakkht Ishq in 2009. Now, even as Sabbir Khan readies for the release of Munna Michael – after the success of Heropanti (Tiger Shroff’s debut film) and Baaghi – he says his Bollywood career has “been a beautiful joyride.” We catch up with the director about life, career and more.
 
Do you still get nervous before a new film’s release?
 
Not really. It’s weird but I am unaffected with the larger things in life. I know that I’ve given the film my best and there’s nothing that I can do now. So there’s no point being nervous; and that’s how I’ve been with all my films.
 
It has been eight years since you made your big Bollywood debut. How has your journey been?
 
It’s been a beautiful joyride. As a middle class boy, I just dreamt of getting a chance to make one film but have made four, so I am the happiest guy in the world. I am so passionate about movies that I’d be happy to be associated with films in any manner – writing, editing, music or poster designing etc. I am living my dream every day. It doesn’t get better than this. But I wish for more success so that I can help others, especially assistant directors and aspiring film-makers and personally continue to tell interesting, universal stories with sensible entertainment.
 
How has your relationship fructified with Tiger Shroff since Heropanti?
 
It started out like a student-teacher relationship. I literally held Tiger’s hand and taught him everything during Heropanti which transitioned to friendship during Baaghi but with Munna Michael I think he’s come into his own. Tiger says he respects me more with every passing day as he develops a deeper understanding of film-making. Personally, we are a lot alike because other than work, we don’t discuss anything else. Our bond is emotional, pure and bereft of any need from each other.
 
You have assisted Mahesh Bhatt and David Dhawan in the past. How has assisting them shaped your thought process?
 
I don’t know how exactly they could have shaped my thoughts but I’m sure working with them so closely has left its imprint on my subconscious. I think assisting such radically opposite film-makers made me tough, prepared me how to handle and execute entire films. Both my mentors loved me and gave me a lot of liberty, which gave me wings. Today, my producers have to sit back and relax as they know that I have a command on every aspect of film-making.
 
Your father (Noor Dewasi) was a famous lyricist in the 60s and 70s. In that sense, would you call yourself an insider or outsider?
 
Definitely, an outsider. When you’re not the child of a successful artiste, consider yourself a complete outsider. When I first expressed my desire to become a film-maker, my father slapped me. He was absolutely disillusioned with the movie industry. I worked for a few months as a copy writer in advertising world just to understand the medium and then struggled for 10 years as an assistant director before I got a break.
 
Are you worried about box office numbers Munna Michael will do considering a number of films are releasing around the same time?
 
No, had I been worried, I wouldn’t have released the film in July when there is a film every week. I am sure it will affect the numbers but I don’t make films for numbers. If audience appreciates a film, it eventually translates to numbers. The only thing that I worry about is, ‘have I made the film I set out to make’ and ‘have I been true to the story?’
 
Your films are always high on entertainment quotient with all the masala elements. What’s your ‘cinematic world’?
 
I grew up watching films in big cinema halls and so, I understand collective emotions and reactions to what unfolds on ‘big’ screen. So, my first priority is to find an interesting story, that’ll be exciting to tell cinematically and then, of course, I will tell that as entertainingly as possible. Actually, the most difficult thing in the world is to make mainstream cinema as it has its own language and rhythm and not everyone can do it. I can, so I do. I know how to shoot human drama, action and music and maybe that’s why, on the face of it, my films may look very entertaining but they are deeper and layered but I am not complaining (smiles).
 
But critics generally don’t appreciate such films?
 
It’s okay but I am intelligent enough to know that the day I choose my ‘core story’, critics won’t lap it up. It’s the bane of making mainstream cinema. Almost everything that’s popular in the world is heavily opposed. What concerns me is that critics think all mainstream film-makers are similar and unintelligent. Why stereotype?
 
Where do you see your career going in the next five years?
 
I don’t know even know about the next five days. Film industry is a ruthless place so, if you make a successful film, you can be assured that your next one will materialise soon. Else, you’re back to square one. Then, no one really cares what you know about film-making.
 
After Tiger and Kriti Sanon in Heropanti, you are now launching Nidhhi Agerwal…
 
I don’t know if people know this but right from my first film, I made a conscious decision to introduce new talent – whether it’s an actor, a technician or a musician because I know how hard it is to get a break in the film industry. Also film making is a lot about instincts and I want to follow my true instincts to make films fearlessly.