HR: The dialogue in this film is tremendous. It is incredible. But those are not lines that are…
SG: (Cuts in) …ones I am known for. They are very real.
HR: Very subtle. You must have watched this in the promos. You just have to say the lines, there is no aggression. There is no mein hero hu aur yeh hero ki line hai toh mein aise boluga. It has been incorporated into the narrative very organically. They are said with a certain coldness and this has an impact on the character. There is nothing dramatic about these lines and the way they are delivered. The way they have been interpreted and expressed is very new. The same lines could have been said in a heroic way, in a loud way, but that’s what makes Kaabil so special.
BOI: We have seen you doing action before. Was this more difficult or challenging than before as you play a visually impaired character?
HR: Yes, it was very difficult to portray a blind mind. Sometimes, I was afraid of falling and hurting myself because there was this time I had to jump. Usually, all the important points are marked… the spot from where you have to jump and the spot where you have to land… beech mein there is a big hole. If my character wasn’t blind, I would have run, kept my eye on the mark and then landed on the right mark.
But since I was playing a blind guy, I had to keep my head up and I didn’t know where I was going to land or what I was doing. I wanted to show that I was guided purely by instinct. I had to count my steps and then jump. So, for instance, four steps ke baad I had to jump. If the fourth step’s distance is not right, my foot would have landed in a ditch and I could have broken a bone.
It was very difficult and when someone threw a punch my way, I had to deflect it or not react at all. That was very difficult because the brain automatically reacts and involuntary muscles make your eyes flinch. It was difficult to control that and it took a lot of practice and precision.
SG: It was by far the most wonderful experience I have ever had… the sheer joy, the satisfaction, the camaraderie and team work, right from Rakeshji, to the writer of the film, to the technicians, to the actors… everybody has given their best and everybody was at the top of their game. And that is your victory. When you are directing a film, you have to get your team to feel that it is their baby as much as it is yours. And I am not one of those people who believe that the director is the captain of the ship. It’s the team that puts it together. In that sense, it has truly been a blessing.
BOI: The film is also being released in Tamil and Telugu. Is there a specific marketing plan for those languages?
HR: That’s a good question for Dad. These calls are taken by Dad and he knows more about the release plan.
SG: Right now, we are completely immersed in finishing the film, giving it the right finishing touches. We are also packaging the music, mixing and everything.
HR: Dad generally has done that for all his films. And they have done well. So the South is a market that Dad is very interested in. It’s always given him returns. And we have always got a lot of love for our films. All my Filmkraft films have done extremely well in the South.
BOI: What about overseas markets? What kind of release will the film have there?
SG: It’s a huge release.
HR: It is being released by B4U Movies. They are really big when they come out all guns blazing. Like the chain of cinemas they have booked in Dubai. They have gone out of their way and booked non-traditional cinema chains. They have done a fabulous job.
SG: He was completely involved. He was involved as a writer to begin with, and after that too, he used to get involved. Let me put it this way… If I were to do another film without Rakeshji, it would be like a child going out without a parent.
HR: How sweet!
SG: There’s a very strong shield of security and it is tremendous. He was always there and that was the amazing part.
BOI: Having worked with Hrithik on this film, can you tell us what kind of director he would make?
HR: I am very happy I am not one. I leave the tough job to people like Sanjay. People might say that I can or I should but it’s one thing to tweak something from an actor’s point of view and it’s a very different thing to conceptualise on the big screen. That’s a gift from God. I don’t know whether I will develop that gift or not but, so far, I don’t think I have it.
SG: My personal opinion is that superstars should stay actors. You know, he could do two films a year as an actor, whereas he could do one film in three years as a director.
BOI: Will this film have special preview shows in multiplexes or single screens?
SG: No, we are simply releasing it on the 25th morning. That’s it, just a regular release.
BOI: So both of you have been with Kaabil from the first narration to now when the film is ready, how happy are you both with the final product?
HR: Nothing has changed. From start to finish, the scenes and lines are exactly the same as they were in the script.
SG: Nothing has changed. I am a firm believer in something Alfred Hitchcock had said, which is that even if the most brilliant idea comes to you, ignore it because you have spent months or years working on something from all angles. Maybe you don’t have time at that point. Invariably it will lead to a good project.