Kabir Khan
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; April 14, 2017)

Zhu ZhuKabir Khan might be counted among the torchbearers of massy movies, but the ex- documentary director hasn’t lost sight of his realistic vein of filmmaking. His next is Salman Khan-starrer Tubelight. “It’s Salman’s most endearing character till date and, arguably, his best performance too. On the edit table, when I saw his performance, I was amazed at how much his craft has improved. He has brought soul to the film like never before. The teaser will be out by the month-end. The ball will start rolling thereafter. What everyone is most excited about is us introducing Zhu Zhu (Chinese movie star). She is a fantastic actor and a beautiful person. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. She brings depth to the film, and her performance gives a special touch to her character. She is the heart of the film; people will love her.”

Currently, however, the filmmaker is consumed by his passion project — The Forgotten Army — for Amazon Prime that will trace the journey of the Indian National Army. “I am feeling liberated. In mainstream cinema, you have too many restrictions imposed on you. When you are casting for a show like this, you cast for the character, not for the star. We might still manage a big star on board, but that’ll be limiting us. Our budget isn’t decided by the star but the content. It’s truly empowering that people are spending on stories, not celebrities.”

Quiz him about his reference point and he is quick to say, “Rangoon touched upon INA, but they never went into the history of it. I had made a documentary on two legendary soldiers of INA long ago. It’s a forgotten army. Writing it will be tricky. Though Bose is a strong element of Azad Hind Fauj, my story is more about the soldiers of INA.”

He asserts he doesn’t ever feel the pressure to say the right thing. “I am careful to not sensationalize sensitive subjects or play to the gallery for the wrong reasons.Once that’s done and people take offence, it’s a battle worth fighting for. Creative people should not indulge in self-censorship.”