Sabbir Khan Interview: I hope my films keep working well so that I continuously introduce new talent
In an exclusive interview with BollywoodMDB, filmmaker Sabbir Khan of Heropanti and Baaghi fame talks about his new film Munna Michael, starring Tiger Shroff and Niddhi Agerwal.
After the stupendous success of his last release Baaghi, writer-director Sabbir Khan is all set with his new offering, Munna Michael. Starring his favourite Tiger Shroff and newbie Niddhi Agerwal in lead roles, the film revolves around the theme of dance, something which Khan has never attempted before as all his previous films have been high on action. So, was it a conscious decision to try something new? Why Sabbir rope in Tiger Shroff in all his films? Was it the demand of the story to cast a new face opposite Tiger instead of opting for an established heroine or the director did it consciously? To find answers to all these questions and much more, BollywoodMDB reporter, Mohnish Singh, catches up with the director at Eros office in Mumbai. Excerpts from a detailed interview…
Munna Michael is your third film with Tiger Shroff after Heropanti and Baaghi. So, can we say that he is your lucky mascot now?
I hope he is my lucky mascot and our third film is as loved and appreciated as the last two were. I think we have a slightly emotional journey as we started almost together; I was one film old, he was just starting his journey. So, there is a little emotional bond between us. I think we push each other to do well.
You have cast a new female lead Niddhi Agerwal opposite Tiger Shroff in the movie. Any particular reason?
I definitely make a conscious effort that with every new film I bring new talent to the fore, whether it’s in the form of actors, technicians or musicians. I hope my films keep working well so that I continuously introduce new talent. I did it for my last two films also.
You have seen Tiger’s journey from the very beginning. So, how do you think he has evolved as an actor over the years?
In the first film, he was completely new and it felt like I was teaching him everything. He knew nothing about filmmaking as he had never assisted somebody or anything like that. So, I literally felt like I was teaching him every single thing. During Baaghi, there were times when I would say a sentence and then he would probably halfway through the sentence understand me and we would smile at each other. This time around, he was far more confident. It feels like as a director I am working with an actor that I have not trained. He is already a trained actor now. He would come to the sets and try to impress me. If I want something from him, he will try to go little above it to impress me. He always tries to bring something new to the table. Confidence-wise, you all have seen his growth. He is far more confident now. He has completely evolved now. He is a far better actor now.
Do you cast Tiger Shroff in your films because scripts demand so, or because of your close working association with him?
Honestly, after Heropanti, we didn’t make any plans to work with each other. But I think everyone loved the film so much that they wanted us to do another film together. So, Baaghi was born out of that love. But this one (Munna Michael) was not planned at all. I had first narrated the story of Munna Michael to him in 2013. We were shooting Heropanti then. It was the last day of shooting. We were sitting together and I gave him a small narration of the film. He had loved it.
He then reminded me it last year. He said that there was an idea which you narrated to me. Why don’t you make it? And, because of his excitement, the film has happened.
The central theme of Munna Michael is dance. But if you see your projects till now, they all have been actioners with splashes of comedy. So, this time around was it the script that fell in your lap or it was a conscious decision to try something new?
A lot of people ask me that why I make action films. But the fact is that I have made only one action film that was Baaghi. Heropanti had about five or six scenes of action, which were appreciated. Talking about Munna Michael, I won’t say it is an out and out dance film. There are a lot of layers in the film. There is human drama. There is emotion. The film is about dreams. It is about how a lot of us are trapped in jobs which we actually don’t want to do. It is also about the fact that in the country we just don’t need doctors and engineers only. There can also be painters, singers and dancers. Society needs all type of people. All of this is set against the backdrop of dance. So, it’s not an out and out dance film also.
How was it working with Nawazuddin Siddiqui?
While scripting, a filmmaker generally gets an instinct that he wants a certain actor for a particular role. By the time I finished writing Munna Michael, I was dead sure I wanted Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the film. I thought once I approach him, he would say two things: Are you mad? Or I loved the script. Fortunately, by the time I finished the narration, he stood up from his chair and said that rest things aside I am doing this film. I am very excited. That was encouraging for me that he was very excited. But after 10-15 minutes when I told him that Nawaz bhai you will have to dance also. He said no matter what I will do the film and put my heart and soul into it.
All your films have been very commercial in nature. Don’t you plan to make films for a niche audience on any niche subject?
My answer to that would be that I am open to making niche films. But why? Why should I make niche films? I want the entire country to watch my films. I may take up a niche idea and make it entertaining enough and universal.