EXCLUSIVE: Personal Interview with Kabir Khan – The man behind ‘Ek Tha Tiger’


Kabir Khan1

We caught up for a personal interview with Kabir Khan, director of the much-awaited Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer ‘Ek Tha Tiger’. Check it out!

By Prerrna Seth/ Kreative Access Media

Okay. So, “Ek Tha Tiger” is finally ready for release. Can you let us know how did Tiger’s journey begin? How was the film conceptualised?
Kabir: There are several layers which go into creating a script. There is the one liner; then, the characters & a lot many things which I, along with my co-writer Neelesh, worked on. There was also this RAW’s investigative details that we were working on. It took a long time for us to work on the background & other details of the film.

So, while all of this was happening, was there a Salman Khan somewhere at the back of the mind?
Kabir: To be honest, when we were writing the script, we did not have Salman in our minds. But once the character started taking shape, both I & Aditya Chopra thought that no one else could play Tiger better than Salman. Also, because Tiger is a very larger-than-life character; so, when you have Salman playing it, the audience believes from the word ‘go’ that he is a legend. So, we don’t need the screen time to build his character.

So, what you are saying is that because the character was larger-than-life that you chose Salman & it wasn’t the other way around?
Kabir: Yes, I would like to clear that there were no changes made to the script just because Salman agreed to do the film. The scripts demanded a Salman Khan; it needed a Salman Khan. And that is the simple reason why we approached him.

You’ve worked actors like John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Irrfan, & Neil Nitin Mukesh in the past. So, how different was it working with Salman for “ETT”?
Kabir: I think every actor has a different approach to filmmaking. John’s approach is very different; Katrina works in her own style. And same is the case with Salman. He is more spontaneous of an actor when compared to Katrina. He likes to react to situations.

So, was it difficult working with him?
Kabir: I strongly believe that the making of the film should be an enjoyable experience. And that is exactly what the entire team of “ETT” has done. I also believe that a good film always comes out from a war of creative ideas. It emerges from churning of more than one creative mind. It’s just like a raw diamond which needs a lot of chiselling before it becomes precious.

Okay. Which means that the reports of you having differences with Salman were just a rumor?
Kabir: That was a case of bad reporting. I never said that there were differences between Salman & me. What I had said was that it takes time for the actors & the director to come on the same page. And it’s natural. It occurs whenever a new project begins because two creative people will not always see a particular character in a similar way. Everybody has a different perception. So, when you begin, at times, these differences are bigger, but as you start proceeding & discussing with each other, they slowly but steadily diminish.

If that is the case, are the rumours about a rift between Salman & the YRF camp also baseless?
Kabir: Absolutely.

We also heard that Salman insisted on getting music directors Sajid-Wajid on board.
Kabir: See, whenever you make a film, you don’t go around doing anything you want. There’s a process which everyone follows. And “ETT” is Yash Raj’s one of the most ambitious projects. So, it was not on Salman’s insistence that we got Sajid-Wajid. It never works that way.

Now, coming to Katrina’s character in the film. A lot has been talked about Salman owing to which the focus has shifted from her. What do you have to say about that?
Kabir: Unfortunately, the positioning of Katrina’s character in the film is such that we can’t talk much about her. That’s also the reason why she’s not being shown much in the promos of the film. But once the audience see the film, they will come to know that her character is a very important one. In fact, Zoya is as important as Tiger in the film. It’s not one of those roles which are there just for the sake of it. And I’m sure if people liked her in “New York”, they’ll love her in “ETT”.

So, how did Katrina come in the film?
Kabir: Katrina was always a part of the film. After “New York”, when I started writing “ETT”, I knew from the word ‘go’ that Katrina was Zoya. Also, her personality is apt for the character.

Let’s talk about the music of the film. In films like “ETT”, it is usually the story which takes centre-stage. So, what were your instructions to your music directors?
Kabir: It wouldn’t be wrong to say that in films like “ETT”, the music should help in taking the story forward because you don’t have item numbers or anything of that sort. So, there is a particular reason why each song is there. And when you see the film you realise that they have been beautifully woven in the narration of the film. In the songs, I wanted to use the elements from the countries we were shooting in because we were shooting in countries which have very strong cultures. Be it Irish music, Turkish music or Cuban music; they are very powerful. And we have tried to incorporate these elements in all the songs for the film. In fact, for one of the songs called “Laapata”, all the live recordings were performed by musicians in Cuba. We wanted to have a different sound for the film. We did not want to use the typical Bollywood music for our film. And I think the music directors have done a decent job.
When you think of Kabir Khan, you think of “Kabul Express” which was shot in Afghanistan; you think of “New York” which was shot in the USA. And now, with “ETT”, you are traveling to almost each & every corner of the globe. So, how was the experience?
Kabir: I love travelling. But it’s not the reason why “ETT” has been shot in so many locations around the world. The only reason is that the story needs that kind of travelling. We didn’t go to these countries to shoot songs. It is the character’s journey which takes us to these places. Also, what is interesting is that all these locations have never been seen in Indian cinema before. And obviously, it’s a big budget YRF film. So, we had to do justice to it. And I’m very happy with the way the film has eventually turned out to be.

What do you have to say about the film being based on the life of a RAW agent, as claimed by his kin Ravindra Kaushik?
Kabir: Well, we have obviously considered reality while writing the film but the claims made by Mr. Kaushik are absolutely false. I have said before & will repeat myself that “ETT” is not based on the life of any particular individual. And if it were true, I would have been more than happy to acknowledge the fact that the film is based on true events because audience love to see such films. But unfortunately, such is not the case.

And what about the special screening which Mr. Kaushik asked for before the film releases?
Kabir: I’m sorry to disappoint, but there will not be any special screenings happening before the film releases. There are a lot of people who claim such things; we can’t possibly hold a screening for each & every person.

SocialDhabba.com team would like to wish Kabir Khan and the entire team of ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ a super-success at the box-office.

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