Farah Khan made her debut as choreographer with Aamir Khan’s Joh Jeeta Wohi Sikander and quickly achieved recognition with her work in the Indian film industry.
The 47-year-old has till date choreographed dance routines in more than 80 Hindi films, directed three films, acted in one as a leading actress and made her debut as a producer with Shirish Kunder’s Joker.
Khan spoke to BollyNewsUK about the film produced under her banner Three’s Company in association with UTV Motion Pictures and Hari Om Entertainment.
Synopsis: In 1947, when the maps of India and Pakistan were being drawn, an oversight ensured that the village of Paglapur didn’t find a place in either country. The village had the distinction of housing the largest mental asylum in the region and in the melee that ensued during Partition, the asylum inmates broke loose, drove away the villagers and established their own republic in Paglapur. And that’s how it stayed for the following 60 years. While the world outside changed, Paglapur remained isolated, with no electricity, television or sanity.
Now, decades after the world forgot this village, a NASA scientist of Indian origin, Agastya (Akshay Kumar) and his beautiful wife find themselves on the road to Paglapur. Agastya is working on a top-secret project for creating a device to communicate with aliens. So why is he in a village whose colourful inhabitants include a man who speaks in gibberish, another who thinks he is a lamp-post and everyone else, who think Mahatma Gandhi is still around, fighting for independence? And more importantly, what are they going to do that will soon turn the universe’s spotlight onto this forgotten village?
What is your production Joker about? Tell us something about the film.
If you have seen the promos, it’s a sci-fi movie set in a rural setting. It’s a full on commercial movie with all the trappings of a commercial film like big stars, songs but the story is something that is very new and not tried before. The film has crop circles, aliens and flying saucers.
Why did you decide to market the film using aliens ?
Joker does not fit in any particular fixed genre as such. I think, films based on stories are always difficult to market. If it a straight-on action film or a south remake, then you are set. Those films are easy to make because you don’t have to think of anything. With a movie like Joker, because there is no precedent, then you have to do something out of the box which we have been doing. We took a call that the aliens are our USP and I think, it worked for us because children are loving the aliens
You have been a choreographer, director, an actor and now you have produced Joker under Three’s Company. How has the experience been for you?
I did not realize that the producer needs to promote the film so much. I am really going to be at the hospital soon after these promotions are over. But actually, Shirish has looked after everything. I have only come in at the end where marketing and promoting the movie is concerned.
You are really good at promoting your films.
I am a people’s person and Shirish is not very media friendly and he does not want to be either. He feels that it won’t make a difference if he talks about the film until people like the film. I am debutante actress and debutante producer, all within a span of two weeks. It is exciting and I am hoping that the film does well because then I will have a hit product to my name.
Let’s talk about your leading actors. Why did you cast Sonakshi Sinha opposite Akshay Kumar ?
We were the first people who casted them together. After Dabangg we signed Sonakshi for Joker. It was the first film she signed after her debut film and the first film she signed with Akshay. It just so happened that Akshay signed her for Rowdy Rathore and because of our VFX effects which take time, Rowdy Rathore released first. It is good for us though because people like their pairing.
Joker was supposed to be shot and released in 3D. What happened?
We took a call not to release the film in 3D. All the big film this year have been in 2D and we could have been the first film to come in 3D but because we were delayed many 3D films were released before Joker, like Ra.One and Don 2. The entire novelty factor of Joker being in 3D went away. In a way, I am glad because I took my kids to see Spiderman in 3D and the glasses did not fit them. They were getting really irritated because it was dark as well. I was happy that they can at least enjoy Joker as it is.
Does this also mean that there is still a long way to go for 3D in Indian theaters?
There are actually quite a few 3D cinemas in India. They maybe need to improve the quality a bit because the film gets really dark when you put on the glasses.
Do you think the audiences in India want to see films in 3D?
I think it will come to a day when all films will be made in 3D. That is the future. They will probably invent a way to see films in 3D without the glasses and then we all will be happy.
The expectations are high up whenever you choreograph a song. Was choreographing Kafirana a challenge in that way?
You see, it is always a challenge to do an item song because I myself have done so many and they have all been big hits. An item song at the end is always going to be an item song. There will be a signature step and dancers and yet you have to do something new. With Kafirina, what is different is that we have Chitrangada Singh in the song as she has never been seen in that avatar before. She does not have that image of an item girl. She is known for her urban sensualities and we have shown her quite raw which was exciting.
You as a director and now producer have only done films that are set in India. Why have you never set your films in cities like London? Do you plan to shoot in London anytime soon?
If we get a script that requires the film to be set in London, then we will have to shoot there. With Joker, it really required a village in India where they don’t even have electricity or water. We required a village that has been forgotten on the map of India. If we feel we have to do a story about something that only happens in Britain, we will. But how many films that are shot in London actually require being set there because of the story? How many of those movies are actually London centric? They don’t and are not. These stories can be set in Delhi, Mumbai or anywhere. I think, the London commission also helps out and filmmakers want a glamorous look. That is why they go and shoot over there.
Joker is out now in UK cinemas.