The talented director spoke about his first film outside YRF, his working equation with Salman Khan and post-release plans.
Mumbai: Salman Khan starrer highly anticipated 'Bharat' is gearing up for an Eid release. The film, which is the remake of the Korean blockbuster 'An Ode To My Father', sees Salman reuniting with Katrina Kaif. The film has raised anticipation amongst audiences since the trailer is released. Directed by very talented Ali Abbas Zafar, 'Bharat' marks his third film with both Salman (Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai) and Katrina (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Tiger Zinda Hai).
'Bharat' is also first film for Ali outside Yash Raj Films (YRF) as all of his previous films were produced under the legendary banner. Speaking about the experience, Ali said, "When you get out of your comfort zone you tend to learn many new things. I think I learned a lot working on this film (Bharat). It was really a wonderful equation with my producers Atul and Alvira Agnihotri, Krishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar and of course, Salman sir. They have just supported my vision in the best possible way and I am very thankful to them for trusting me with this film."
The director promises that his upcoming film is a roller coaster ride with a man whose six-decade journey reflects that of the country. "Lot of research went into making this film. The film's span is 70 years - it begins from 1947 and goes up till 2010. When we were writing the film, because it is an adaptation of Korean film 'An Ode To My Father', it was very important what part of the history were we touching and bringing into our script," Ali mentioned.
"At heart, Bharat is a very emotional and simple story about a displaced family where a son makes a promise to his father. In that journey, you see him travel and live 70 years. And in those 70 years what is simultaneously happening in the country become a parallel plot that why the tagline is "journey of a man and a nation together". It was definitely very challenging in its writing as well as its execution because whatever time frame we were setting his life chapters in, has a definite beginning and an end. It is like six Salman Khan films packaged in one," he said.
Talking about all his movies with Salman Khan, Ali Abbas Zafar said, "My films with Salman are little larger than life, but when you put them in the real texture they become very accessible. With these films, people identify themselves with the hero. Bharat is also a "filmy film in real set-up", just like my previous films. My only quest is when audiences watch Salman Khan film they should be able to relate themselves to the drama."
"Every time I do a film with Salman, I try to find a new dimension in him. I try to push him to present his different version to the audience. In Bharat, I pushed him again. I think this is for first time people are going to see a 70-year-old Salman Khan. I must say, Salman has given a brilliant performance in Bharat and that is my biggest takeaway of the film," Ali added.
Like every Salman Khan film, the music plays a crucial role in 'Bharat'. Songs like 'Slow Motion, 'Chashni', 'Zinda' have already become a rage among the audience. While 'Bharat' is a period film, its music feels contemporary and Ali revealed that it was actually a conscious decision. He mentioned, "We took that decision so that it becomes accessible to the youth. I always believed that the maximum consumption of film music happens through the youth of this country. (With Bharat) I wanted to make them feel that it's retro and still very cool. When you come into the theatre you will understand why we have taken that leap of faith."
Talking about the expectations from the film, Ali said, "When the title of your film is 'Bharat' and you have huge stars like Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in it, there is an extra responsibility and that the film should live up to the name of the title. The whole film is about unity and diversity and that a country is like a family. It is a relevant film today."
Ali Abbas Zafar admitted that making 'Bharat' was a daunting task and that he would like to rest for a while to rejuvenate himself. "Well, I have not been able to get enough sleep! Post the release of Bharat, I just want to sleep for some time and spend little time with my mom and dad. I'll start working on my next project after that,' Ali signed off.
'Bharat' hits the theatres on June 5.