“Positive energy matters a lot which comes from the director. It reflects on to everyone on the set. I am very blessed that I have got to work with people who are very positive that reflects on the entire crew” Is something that he believes in very strongly. After being appreciated in AIRLIFT, INAAMULHAQ is all set for his forthcoming film CHIDIYA which happens to be a children’s film. He confesses that he would always be a part of films that he believes in, as he wants to be proud of each and every character that he brings to life on screen. And for other days, writing for television is what supports him and gives him immense confidence that his belief would not let him down. PRATISHTHA MALHOTRA chats up with the man of substance and more.
IRAQ INVADES KUWAIT
I knew about the gulf war a bit. I was around 11 years old when all this happened in the 90s. People used to talk about Saddam Hussein at that time, but I didn’t know anything about world politics. The only thing I knew was something bad is happening at one part of the world and there is someone called Saddam Hussein who is associated with it. Later when 9/11 happened, I was in the National School of Drama and by that time I was old enough to understand things and research about them as a human being and as an artiste. That is the time when I started reading about the Gulf War at length and the incident at Kuwait was just a small part in my research. I got to know all the details associated with the incident much later while the talks of the film were being made. I also thought to myself, how one man is thinking about what happened back then that hardly many people know about, is worth applause. I really salute his thought. You know when something new comes, people become inquisitive. When the trailer of AIRLIFT had come, Iraq invades Kuwait was one of the most searched items on the internet. History se rubaru karaya to the generation born post the 90s… and also when we are in pain how we unite and help each other is a great feeling of patriotism. You know if you Googled this about a year back, this was just a small article on Wikipedia with very limited information. There has been a lot of update about the incident after AIRLIFT has released. Also, a new debate has started now about what happened and what didn’t. But there was a lot to know about the Gulf war and how Iraq invaded Kuwait. I saw many documentaries and tried to understand the mind sets of people at the time. There is a very good documentary called THE LAST FLIGHT TO KUWAIT, WHAT WAS LIFE REALLY IN SADDAM’S IRAQ….and there are many more. While many things I got from my research, many were already there in the script and the rest was my imagination…
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE AUDIENCE
I think we have underestimated the audiences for many years and are doing that even today. When Akshay Kumar or someone who has been a part of the Industry for over 2 decades is appreciated, this is a positive change for the industry. We need audience to watch films that are made on such topics and we all know that cinema is the most powerful medium in the whole world. We were not utilizing this power correctly for many years, as we were making films only about our heroes, heroines and villains. Our mindset was that- nothing but this would work. But who decides what the audience would like? We assume that the audiences only want entertainment, but has the audience written a letter about this to you? Many good films don’t reach the audiences only because they either don’t get a proper release or if they do, show timings are very abrupt. They say these subjects only work in the metro cities, but we all are from small towns that have come to these cities. We changed because things were available to us to educate ourselves. If we don’t make these things available to people who are not from metros, how do we expect them to change their point of view? Remember when RANG DE BASANTI had come, it had struck such a chord with the youth and it changed their perspective about politics in the country. It can change and it will change, we just need to believe in it. The audience is no fool; we instead are fools who think that they are fools. Also, I really respect the producers who back such subjects. They always have a choice of putting their money in the mundane or in something that is different and of value.
THE ACTOR: CHAPTER 1
You have to feel at that time and place. Whether you are a good man or a bad man, you have to get yourself in that zone. I was reading, watching basically and consuming everything that I could from that era. I am not someone who would just rehearse the lines. For me, to understand the mindset is more important. The second thing is that I give a lot of weightage to the language that my character speaks. If you think about it, he should only speak in Arabic. But that we are making a film for the Hindi speaking audiences, so the characterization is purported like that. You know every language has some sounds, some are missing and some are prominent. So I started finding out which sounds are missing in Arabic. For instance when I was in Dubai, I saw Pepsi was spelt like Bebsi in Arabic which meant that the sound of ‘P’ was missing. I also asked my father in-law about this and he told me which ones were missing and eventually every culture finds a replacement for the sounds missing in their language. It is a tough job to learn and unlearn because you are following a line of script too. Also, I had to be spot on as my character was right on the edge. If you do more or less, it would look terrible. You know, for me the back story of my character is very important as well. It might not be in the film, but it is the most important thing to understand my character. I make a graph about who he was from childhood till today in my head for better understanding.