In a country where there is no dearth of star-struck people, Hindi films with a powerful cast tend to easily get the tag of ‘highest-grossing movie’. But making it to film festivals is not a cakewalk for them. Kabir Khan, whose this year’s directorial “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” tasted stupendous success at the box office as well as fests, says commercially successful movies shouldn’t be ignored at such galas.
The Salman Khan-starrer, which unfolds the story of a man on a mission to take a young Pakistani deaf and mute girl back to her country, minted over Rs.600 crore worldwide. After its screening at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival in South Korea last month, it will entertain the attendees of the 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa this month.
“When we were making the film, we were not expecting half of what we are getting for ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’…the kind of love and acclaim that we are getting for this film is something truly heart-warming. I am really happy that it was screened at Busan film fest and will be shown now in IFFI,” Kabir said over phone from his holiday home in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region, where he is currently holidaying with his family.
“When you are making mainstream cinema especially with superstars, you are not really thinking of festivals. That’s because you don’t have the time to travel to festivals before the film’s release. In the case of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, at that point of time, we were not thinking of fests at all. But we are happy that it has been received the way it has and that people are inviting us for festivals,” he added.
But not all money-spinning Hindi films get a similar chance to showcase their work at fests, which are attended by filmmakers from across the globe as well as other moviebuffs.
“When you are looking at films, you should definitely try to get good films to fests. But I don’t think there should be prejudice against mainstream cinema, especially today, with lines blurring,” said the “Phantom” director.
Kabir, who often makes films around terrorism or Indo-Pak ties as a backdrop, says mainstream cinema filmmakers should make films that are “more real and logical” to find a spot in fests. He added: “Mainstream cinema needs to be included in their (fests’) programming; otherwise they will be catering to a very small audience.”
“Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, which is Salman’s first release since he was sentenced in May to five years in jail in the infamous 2002 hit-and-run case (the case is currently in appeal), saw the director and the actor teaming up again after the 2012 blockbuster “Ek Tha Tiger”. They didn’t stick to the action-thriller genre and so the audience got to see Salman, known for doing intense action scenes and romance onscreen, in a different avatar in this year’s blockbuster.
“In the movie, he is beaten up and is mostly seen in one set of clothes in the entire second half and it’s not a big love story. I think all that in some way made his character very endearing and people reacted positively to the fact that Salman made a lot of effort in portraying a certain character,” said the director, who has worked with actors like John Abraham, Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif.
And if everything goes well, the formidable duo (Salman and Kabir) will be joining hands again for another film.