The man has almost had a makeover with his short haircut and weight loss of 20 kilos. That’s not it; actor turned director Sajid Khan is even going to work towards building a physique and is trying hard to reduce smoking.
Apart from this, he is working hard towards his second film, which will go on floors towards the end of the year. Before that, in April, Khan will also be seen as a lead in a film. Add to that the fact that he already has TV shows and award functions to keep him busy.
But what takes the cake is the Rs 9 crores offer that Khan got from a corporate house on the eve of his debut movie Heyy Babyy’s release… which he refused!
In a chat with Businessofcinema.com, Khan talks about his upcoming directorial movie, his acting assignments and more…
You have lost so much weight.
Yes. Before making Heyy Babyy I weighed 82 kilos. By the time the shooting wrapped up I was overweight by 20 kilos, because during the scripting, shooting and post-production I went through a lot of stress and over-ate all the time. At that time I used to bathe only thrice a week and I used to smoke 100-150 cigarettes a day.
Then after the release of my movie, I started getting offers from TV so it became necessary to look good again. Also, after becoming a director I realized how important it is to look good in front of the camera. So now I am back to weighing 82 kilos, but I want to lose 10 more kilos and I am also working towards developing a physique. I have hired the trainer of The Biggest Loser.
I have six months more to work on TV and then I go back to working on my second movie.
Isn’t it taxing to juggle between TV and films?
I am only 37 years old. I am not even married and I stay with my mom. It is my time to work. I am not 50 years old or something. I need TV shows, films and theatre to be super hit, so that my brand value increases and I can get more work and my life keeps circulating.
For this year, my priority is my second film. June is my cut off point for TV and all other assignments. Otherwise, TV is my livelihood and priority. And in between I host awards. It is all about managing your dates correctly.
Will you also act in films again?
Yes, I am acting in a small film. I am playing the lead role in it and will begin shooting in April/May. Continued… < Page Break >
Is TV offering you more money, now that you’ve turned a feature film director?
I earn in lakhs now as opposed to thousands earlier. But I do not work for money, I work for work. I used to drive a Mercedes earlier and now too; I stayed in the same house earlier and still there. So money has not changed me.
You must have also received offers from some of the corporates to direct a movie for them?
Oh yes, from Rs 10 crores to Rs 15 crores per film. But morally from heart, mentally and legally I am attached to Sajid Nadiadwala. He made a film for me when no one else did. He invested his trust in me and I benefited from his name. Now, he has to benefit from me.
(In the mean time Sajid digs out an SMS from his inbox, which read ‘For Rs 9 crores as a fee, you can make a film with a cast and script of your choice. It will be fun to work with you.’ And then he shows that the SMS was sent to him on 23 August 2008, a day before the release of Heyy Babyy, his debut movie as a director. Of course, Sajid covered the name of the sender with his thumb.)
Did you not want to turn producer with your second film?
No. I don’t want to turn producer till 2015 at least. I want to establish myself as a director. I want to make movies now. Even Subhash Ghai and Raj Kumar Hirani did not turn producers with their second films.
What did you learn after directing your first film?
Direction is an amalgamation of art, science and commerce. It is a responsible and thankless job because a director is just expected to do well. He has to answer 1000 questions, each day, from the producer to the light man and he has to answer them even if he doesn’t have answers to them. He is like an army general leading his men and doesn’t even know his enemies.
A director, who says he knows it all, is lying. A director’s eye is his cameraman and his heartbeat is his editor. A director is an assistant to all technicians.
Will we ever get to see a Farah Khan and Sajid Khan director duo?
Farah and I cannot become another Abbas Mastan. We love each other but cannot work together; either of us has to be on the backburner. Continued… < Page Break >
When do you plan to start your second film? What will this film be about?
My new film is a romantic comedy. It will go on floors around October. Akshay Kumar will play the male lead. I want to cast three heroines in my film, so out of the top five heroines – Vidya Balan, Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu, I will cast three who give me their dates.
It is a New York-based film and will be made on a budget of Rs 50- 60 crores, which is a higher budget than my first film. It is too early to reveal the story, only Akshay and Sajid have heard the script so far. We are working on the third draft currently.
For Heyy Babyy we had made 16 drafts so you can imagine how much more work is left to do. Milap and Vibha are writing the film. The scripting is on since August. If the story is correct, half your job is done.
We have three titles in mind, but not finalized which one we will go ahead with. Heyy Babyy did not have too much romance, this one will.
The movie will be an ultimate comedian’s ride. It will have all my favourite comedians from Paresh Rawal to Rajpal Yadav. The shooting will end by February; it is a 60 day schedule, and we plan to release between April and June next year.
Apart from the budget, in what other respects do you expect your second movie to outdo the first one?
All I want is that the box office collection of my second film should be better than the first one.
Second movies of most directors have flopped, which includes big names like Siddharth Anand, Karan Johar, David Dhawan, Priyadarshan. Very few directors like Shimit Amin, Farah Khan, Rajkumar Hirani, Rakesh Roshan, Sooraj Barjatya have delivered hits with their second movie.
What is your opinion on Akshay’s highflying success?
You know, Hrithik, Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh became superstars from their first film onwards. But Akshay became a superstar after his 14th film. And now, he won’t leave this position for another 10 years, I think. He has connected well with his audience and they know he is paisa vasool.
Akshay is a professional and that is why he became a superstar, not the other way round. He is like Amitabh Bachchan when it comes to punctuality. He reports on time, does exactly what the director wants him to.
What is you opinion about the changing face of Bollywood film industry?
The time is not far when top actors will sign movies for Rs 100 crores. Markets have opened up in a big way. There are more and more multiplexes and more shows of movies. I don’t think the audience wants to pay Rs 200 for a ticket and watch a Rs 2 crore budgeted movie. They would rather watch a Rs 50 crore movie.
Bollywood is going through a transition. Times are not far when one can pay Rs 500 and watch a movie on TV – DTH (direct to home), on the day of its theatrical release. Gone are the days of silver jubilee and houseful. Now the first four days are important for your films and for it to be a blockbuster. The second week is also important.