Happy with the success of Salman Khan-starrer “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, actor Saif Ali Khan hopes his upcoming release “Phantom” enjoys a similar love from the audience. “It is not a typical movie. But after a successful film, you get to make whatever you want, like after ‘Love Aaj Kal’ I got a chance to do whatever I wanted as a producer… I wanted to make ‘Agent Vinod’, but it did not work,” Saif told PTI in an exclusive interview here.
“Kabir Khan (director), after ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, got a chance to make a movie, so he made ‘Phantom’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, so let’s hope we have some kind of success. I even hope one-third business of it (Bajrangi Bhaijaan)… then it would be amazing,” he said.
The 45-year-old actor’s last few films “Bullet Raja”, “Humshakals” and “Happy Ending” failed to create magic at the box office. “All movies are important, more than me the whole team, including producers, as lot of money goes into making movies, so nobody likes to lose it. Also budgets are very important,” Saif said. “We have learnt that some of the films we made were too expensive for the kind of stories that they were. That burdens the box office also. ‘Phantom’ is an important film and I am looking forward to it,” he said.
The screenplay of “Phantom” has been written in co- ordination with author Hussain Zaidi, and it (film) is an adaptation of his book ‘Mumbai Avengers’. The film is about the post-26/11 attacks in Mumbai and global terrorism.
On the issues surrounding “Phantom”, Saif said,”Something gets banned automatically. We try and show reality in films. The world has become such a disturbed place so reality has become more interesting than fiction. It is good to have factual base, it makes things exciting.”
JuD chief Hafiz Saeed had recently sought a ban on the release of “Phantom”. Alleging that the film, set on post-26/11 attacks and global terrorism, contains “filthy propaganda” against Pakistan, Saeed had filed a plea in a Lahore court pleading that the Saif-starrer film, which is scheduled to release on August 28, has “venom against Pakistan and Jamaat-ud-Dawa.”
Saif said, “I know the censor board chief in Pakistan… he is a balanced guy and he also wants to be progressive, but he must be having his own pressures. His government might be making some laws… making things difficult, I don’t know how much control he has. But situations are not easy between two countries. It is not difficult to get back, we are trying to make a realistic kind of a movie on Kashmir. May be from their side they make a movie which we might ban…who knows,” he said.
In “Phantom”, Saif plays the role of an Indian Army captain Daniyal Khan. In “Agent Vinod”, he had essayed the part of an agent. “I think producing “Agent Vinod” may be you can say a mistake, may be little selfish (reason) as I wanted to play the part. I loved the idea (of “Phantom”). This is a different story Kabir Khan has written,” he said. “He is a responsible… balanced director and he chose me for the film, I did not ask him. I am glad Kabir thought that way as it gives me confidence,” the actor said.
It is for the second time that Saif and Katrina are working together after “Race”. “When I first worked with her in “Race” she was new that time, but she knew what she wanted to do. I think her approach to films is meticulous, she gets into all the details, she worries about it, she works very hard and her thinking is bang on,” he said. “I learn a lot from her when it comes to focus. She knows her Hindi is not great, but she makes up for that with lot of other things,” Saif said.