Action For The Sake Of Action Is Like An Item Number: Kabir Khan

NEW DELHI, June 14:  When action is detached from sentiments, it only serves as a promotional tool in the movie, much like an item number, says filmmaker Kabir Khan, who has pulled off a pivotal eight-minute-long continuous war sequence in his latest “Chandu Champion”.
The much-talked about shot highlights the “emotional drama” of the story instead of showing action for the sake of it, said Khan, adding that they shot it at 9,000 feet above sea level in Kashmir’s Aru Valley.
After four days of rehearsal, the section was filmed in one day which featured fighter jets, bomb blasts, and intense combat scenes.
“I have always believed and have done that even in my earlier action films that action for the sake of action never really works, then it’s an item number. Action works when the emotional drama and arc of the story moves forward with the action.
“The start of the action and the end of the action has to move and that in this film (‘Chandu Champion’) is huge. It’s one of the most pivotal points in the plot,” the filmmaker told PTI in an interview here.
Inspired by the life of India’s first Paralympic gold medalist Murlikant Petkar, “Chandu Champion” stars Kartik Aaryan in the title role as a man across ages and phases, including being an Indian Army soldier, a wrestler, a boxer, a 1965 war veteran and a swimmer.
Khan, known for directing “Ek Tha Tiger”, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, “83” and “Kabul Express” earlier, said the underlying reason for shooting the eight-minute uncut sequence was to stay close to his protagonist and experience the events unfold through his eyes.
“We are so used to doing things in films that if it’s not happening, take two or take three or take four, and we can keep achieving. Here, we had no take two. It was only one take and we had to get it correct because a lot of big structures were going to crumble and fall and you cannot set it up all over again.
“On top of that, we were shooting on location in Kashmir at a very high altitude. Carrying people and equipment up there and training them for several days before attempting the single take was quite a task,” the 55-year-old added.
“Chandu Champion” is Khan’s first directorial venture since “83”, which released during the peak of the third wave of the pandemic on December 24, 2021. Fronted by Ranveer Singh, the film was based on the Indian men’s cricket team’s first World Cup win.
“Covid changed the planet and our lives. There was a moment in time where we were very unsure about how it was all going to pan out. Strangely, my film (’83’) was on the cusp of that. Unfortunately, we released on the day the third wave sort of hit us in our face,” the filmmaker recalled.
Much like the film industry and exhibition sector, Khan also took time to return to direction.
“Exhibition was hit badly, it took them months to come back to normal. They couldn’t come back to full capacity for seven-eight months. A lot of projects had stalled, so there was a backlog of actors’ dates, projects being greenlit.
“We are facing it even now. If you notice, there are not too many projects that are coming out from the industry. It was a tumultuous time but it was a tumultuous time for the whole planet so I should not be complaining,” he added.
The Hyderabad-born filmmaker said he spent all the time during the pandemic-induced lockdowns “diving deep” into some stories, including “Chandu Champion”.
“Everything has a silver lining and the fact that I got the time to dive deep into a story like ‘Chandu Champion’, plan it the way we could, prep it the way we could, so that when we finally made it, it looked a certain way…
“You need time to make it look a certain way. Here we are, (it’s been) a long gap but (I have) come back with something I’m very proud of and (something) I know will be a strong part of my filmography for years to come,” he said.
“Chandu Champion” is produced by Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Kabir Khan Films.

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