Interview : Vivek Khatkar

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After conversing mostly with the regular filmy folks, we decided to have tete-a-tete with Vivek Khatkar, the young, dynamic and debutante producer behind the upcoming LAHORE, a film that is huge on acclaim and hype, much before its release. So here we go.

Tell us something about yourself Vivek.
I come from a family which is into real estate business in Gurgaon. LAHORE is our first foray into the Hindi film industry.

When did the idea of making LAHORE first come into your mind?
Actually from a long time, four years or so back, when Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan came to us with the story. You won’t believe this; not only were we convinced about the subject but Sanjay was on board instantly as the director!

In these days, when the in thing is recovering the investment as soon as possible, with commercially viable subjects, why did you choose such an

‘LAHORE will make people think’

unconventional and thought provoking subject like LAHORE?

What you say is right, but as you must have seen in the last couple of years, many seemingly safe projects have failed, despite all the gimmicks and money thrown in. We believe that by making an intelligent and interesting film like LAHORE, if we can make people think, they will come back again to watch it! If we are putting in 25 crores in a venture, it is better to put it in a project that leaves an impact. We are confident about our subject and you will see the results on 19th March.

Why didn’t you choose any big commercial name/star, instead of good artists for the cast of LAHORE?
LAHORE is mainly a 13 character film. If I had chosen a top star, the script would have been altered and become star centric rather than the superb product that we now have, based on our original story.

Farouque Shaikh is a very choosy actor plus his image is also that of a soft romantic or serious kind of a person. How did you convince him to take up the role of a kickboxing coach?
We left the job of convincing Farouque Shaikh to our director Sanjay, and he was able to convince Farouque in a very short span of time, thanks to his superb narration and script.

view LAHORE movie stills

view LAHORE movie stills

The music of LAHORE is very special. How did you manage that?
Well, once again, Sanjay Chauhan has to be given the credit. Even his choice of Daler for the song, ‘Musafir’ made music director Kreem, a bit wary initially, given Daler’s singing image. But the results are there for all to see.

Come on, you are being modest. Even the producer has a very important role to play!
No, I am not. The producer is only at the back end of things, arranging for the finances and resource. It is the director who is the captain of the ship; in this case more so, as even the script is by Sanjay.

CHECK OUT: LAHORE – Movie Preview

How is LAHORE different from the usual Indo-Pak friendship films?
Very much. It does not talk about the issue in a convenient sugar-n-honey manner; it uses sports as a medium. As you must have seen, when an India-Pak match is on (be it any sport!), almost everyone gets very excited. Even critically ill patients want to see it! What we have said is that sports is the best medium of improving relationships, as it can mend any fence.

Before we sign off, tell us something about your experience of working with that amazing actor, the late Nirmal Pandey.
It was an unforgettable experience. Normally, in a multi-cast film actors want maximum footage or monetary benefits, but not Nirmal ji. He was very cooperative. While shooting at Khardungla in Ladakh, and at his age, he used to get breathless, so he used to carry oxygen cylinders. When he got exhausted, he would go and sit in the car and after recovering from the minus 20 degree cold and breathlessness, due to the rarefied air, he used to resume the shooting at the earliest. We feel very lucky to have worked with someone like him. Even Sabyasachi and Ashish Vidyarthi were very cooperative in the testing conditions of Khardungla

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