‘I took up making films to redeem myself’ – Mansoor Khan interview

Mansoor Khan is a Bollywood urban legend, for being the director who made four popular films and gave it up to open a homestay in Coonoor. In this rare interview, Khan talks about his cinema, reveals that Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar was supposed to be his first movie, that they shot an alternative, happy ending for Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and that cousin Aamir Khan still hasn’t gotten over the fact that he cast Shah Rukh Khan in Josh. Excerpts:

What made you swap films for making cheese?

I was never ambitious about films. Though I did study engineering and computer science, I knew that a non-urban life would make me happy. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar was the only film I wanted to make. I wanted it to be my first film.

Then how did Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT) become your first film?

I started writing Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar much before QSQT. I was like the character Sanjay Lal (played by Aamir). I was irresponsible and needed to learn about responsibility and the importance of valuing others. I wanted to make a small-scale film about this boy and his world but I wasn’t able to write it well. I stopped midway. By this time, my father (filmmaker Nasir Hussain) wanted to launch Aamir and he came up with the story of QSQT. I ended up directing it.

How did films happen?

I had zero interest in films. I would watch my father’s films only to criticise them. My father was a sport about it and would only want to know ki mazaa aaya ki nahin. I went for engineering but didn’t complete it. I’ve actually never completed anything in my life. Films happened in the process of running away from engineering.

I was always into gadgets and introduced video edit on a Sony recorder. I had great plans of doing alternative programming for Doordarshan, and even asked them if I could video-edit their ghazal programme so that it could be presented in a better way. I used to play the piano and drums and liked to visualise the music. That was one of the reasons I got into filmmaking. I realised that if I wanted the songs to look good, I’d probably need to make a film. In a way, I took up making films in order to redeem myself. I made a pilot film called Umberto and Amole Gupte (Stanley Ka Dabba director and Taare Zameen Par writer) acted in it. I wanted to see whether I could tell a story. My dad saw the film and asked me to direct QSQT.

Most of your films have daddy issues right from QSQT’s Papa kehte hain to Jo Jeeta… and then, of course, Akele Hum Akele Tum.

You got me there. I didn’t realise that before. Perhaps because emotionally, I find the father-son theme strong. But I can’t take the credit for Papa kehte hain. I only suggested to Majrooh (Sultanpuri) saab that the song is about a boy who is graduating and who doesn’t know what to do with his life. But since he’s a romantic, he feels his destiny is love. Majrooh saab came up with the line. I found the word “Papa” very tacky and wanted it changed. My dad told me it’s a very good line and convinced me to keep it.

You gave in to your dad for the song but you had to fight your way for the tragic ending in QSQT.

Though my father wrote the basic story, he gave me the freedom to tweak it. The first 11 scenes, till the titles roll, were exactly what he wrote. Then I took over. I took his landscape of star-crossed lovers but added the nuances in Raj and Rashmi’s characters.

In my mind, they were always meant to die but my dad didn’t like sad movies. He was known for his happy films. He felt the audience couldn’t handle sadness. He had made Baharon Ke Sapne, which was based on a story he had written in college. It was a serious film and it didn’t work. He had to re-shoot a happy ending for the film after two days. I never agreed with this decision. I’ve always believed that the fate of a film is one thing, while its integrity is another thing.

My father insisted on a happy ending for QSQT. We did try to have a scene where Goga Kapoor gets shot by the sharpshooter who was hired to kill Aamir, and then Aamir piles on the shooter and kills him. But when we were shooting the sequence, someone or the other would laugh on the sets because it looked so fake. This just made my resolve stronger.

Youngsters felt the lovers should die but the elders hated it. Since the film was about young people, my father decided to go with their verdict.

In contrast, how did the happy ending for Akele Hum Akele Tum come about?

I agree that I compromised (on that). By the time we made the film, Aamir and I had different points of view. I should have been firm. Those characters were never meant to be happy together, they could only be happy apart. I guess I lacked conviction. Even while casting, I felt Aamir looked too young to play a dad to a six-year-old. I wanted Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. There were date issues with Madhuri and my next choice was Manisha Koirala. Somehow, I couldn’t see Manisha with Anil, so I went ahead with Aamir.

The casting of Josh was like a film itself, wasn’t it? All three Khans—Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh — were attached with the project at one time.

Yeah, I wanted SRK as Max and Aamir for Rahul’s role. I had narrated the story to Aamir. Without my telling him what role I wanted him to play, he started wearing bandanas and wristbands. He thought he was playing Max. I went to SRK, who said no because he was sure that Aamir would be playing Max. Everyone wanted to play Max. Even Kajol, who I wanted for Shirley’s role, got up after the narration and said, “I want to play Max”. But I felt SRK would be the best Max. When I told Aamir this, he said, “If that’s the case, I’m not in the film.” Then I went to Salman who had date issues. Then my producer Ratan Jain took charge and said he’d speak to SRK. That was it. He agreed, even to play a brother to Aishwarya Rai.

So after four films, what made you chuck it all and go to Coonoor?

It was just a “now or never” feeling. I moved to Mandwa first on my own and managed to convince my wife Tina to move with our two kids to somewhere more peaceful. I had always liked Coonoor. We moved here and Tina got interested in cheese-making and that’s how our farmstay, Acres Wild, happened. I consider myself lucky to have married the right woman and together we created our own world. I was never crazy about films, the way Aamir and Imran (Khan) are, so I could do it.

But was it easy to give up something you were successful at?

I’ve always been wary of success. It’s like a drug. Actors chase it even when they are ageing, and directors chase it even when they lose touch with the audience.

Don’t you miss the camera?

No. I get nightmares of shooting — that the sun is going down and I’m not able to shoot my portion for the day.

What is your connect with films these days? Do you watch films?

My connect is through Aamir, Kiran (Rao) and Imran. Aamir called me to fill in as creative producer for Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. I had a purely supportive role for the film; Aamir wanted me to make sure that Abbas (Tyrewala) shoots the film the way it was written. I only watch films that Aamir or Imran force me to.

Since you’ve been associated with all three of them—what is your take on Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh?

Of the three, Aamir has probably redefined himself the most, Salman is the luckiest of them all, while I think Shah Rukh needs to definitely redefine himself. Don’t get me wrong. I love SRK’s charisma and his screen presence but I feel his choice of scripts has let him down. I don’t know how his mind works — is he living up to his fans’ expectations, has his stardom become so huge that it affects his script choices? I think SRK is aiming for bigness, but I wish he would ­explore himself more.

Is there a cinema fight with Aamir that is yet to be resolved?

We totally don’t agree on the ending of Akele Hum… Aamir didn’t even like Jo Jeeta… He still feels he should have done Josh and I still feel that Shah Rukh was a better Max.

Name five films on your ‘eternal like’ list.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saaransh, Teesri Manzil, Breaking Away (people think I copied JJWS from it but I actually saw it after I wrote it) and Dil Chahta Hai.

Name some contemporary directors whose work you’ve liked.

Vishal Bhardwaj is quite good. I loved Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Sahib Biwi aur Gangster. Rajkumar Hirani is someone I’d like to connect with. 3 Idiots was quite a film — slightly OTT, yet it holds.

So you’ll never ever make another film again?

I won’t say never but I’m not trying to. I follow my heart and not filmmaking. I was always passing through films. I’m busy with my farm. We sell about eight kilos of cheese every day. I bake bread and Tina makes cheese. I give lectures at IIM-Bangalore and then there’s a book I am writing on oil, energy and economics.

What would you want your cinema legacy to be?

I’m not a very technical filmmaker. I have a poor sense of visual craft. It was never about the slick lensing and always about the sensibility and nuances in relationships.



Post Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

buy kamagra cheap augmentin 1000 mg 14 tablets kamagra 100mg bes augmentin 250 mg dosis metformin bluefish 500mg viagra 25 mg tab nolvadex 25mg propecia online singapore levitra 10 mg yorumlar nexium mups 40 mg 90 hay celebrex generico celebrex 200mg preco farmaco levitra 10 mg cipro filmtablet 500 mg online levitra order bestbuy propecia kamagra 100mg erfahrungsberichte buy cialis mastercard doxycycline 50mg online buy xenical 120mg 2.5mg cialis paypal cipro 500 mg generic wellbutrin constipation boots cialis 10mg viagra sklep online viagra oil buy hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg online viagra online vendita augmentin tab 500 mg cipralex 20 mg citalopram generic cialis thailand 500mg cialis cialis 20mg effects metformin 1000 mg pret levitra 10mg erfahrungsberichte prednisone mylan 1 mg cipla 5mg cialis cialis 3 capsules 100mg diflucan cream buy 150 mg viagra dosing levitra 20 mg wien zoloft 100 mg n3 buy online wellbutrin viagra 150mg online lisinopril 15 mg cialis genuine buy generic viagra jelly buy vibramycin doxycycline cialis 20 mg price cialis 20 mg tabletten cialis 5mg apotheke buy cialis reviews ervaringen clomid 150 mg online viagra kaufen 2 100 mg viagra levitra cp 10 mg lexapro generic 10 mg synthroid 25mg 200 mg zoloft forum hard viagra online clomid 100 mg daily buy womens viagra cialis 80 mg australia cheapest valtrex 5 vs 10 mg lexapro viagra 125 mg condom viagra online cialis 5mg n1 panic disorder zoloft viagra pet online viagra generic 25 mg generic cialis 20x20 strattera eating disorders buy doxycycline gonorrhea 20mg lexapro pregnancy celebrex medication 200 mg abra generic viagra purchase hydrochlorothiazide online zovirax 5 mg cialis generic fake cialis took 20mg cialis 10 or 20mg generic nexium india viagra online estonia buy 500 mg zithromax buying viagra budapest purchase dapoxetine online lexapro generic effects viagra generic 150 mg prednisone 20mg 5 days levitra 100 mg 30 tablet bulas cialis 5mg online cialis diagnosis cheap kamagra tablets ic hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg zoloft 50 mg pregnancy viagra 5800 mg generic viagra singapore cialis cena 5 mg buy viagra 4x100 citalopram 10 mg libbs nexium order online generic equivalent propecia buy propecia viagra buy kamagra jakarta buy doxycycline 50mg cialis 20 mg effervescent doxycycline 50 mg dental viagra dosage 100 mg cheapest kamagra 100mg buy viagra luton celebrex 200mg purchase generic viagra hawaii buying valtrex cheap cialis 20 mg yorum lexapro 10 mg review green generic viagra taking clomid 150 mg prednisone 25 mg alcohol prednisone eg 20 mg generico de diflucan generic strattera 10 mg amoxil 500mg cipro 875 mg buying generic cialis cialis halbe 20mg novo doxycycline 100mg extremely cheap viagra amoxil bd generico lexapro new generic nexium astrazeneca 40 mg 28 0112mg synthroid about generic viagra buy strattera generic metformin 500 mg buy lasix 40 mg vo metformin bp 500 mg cheap valtrex uk doxycycline 500mg uses augmentin dawkowanie 500 mg buy wholesale cialis cialis 20 mg assunzione cialis 50mg dosage strattera 80 mgs costo cheap overseas viagra lasix 500 mg romania clomid tem generico cialis online vanzare cialis 5 mg preis priligy australia buy cheapest priligy uk viagra online vietnam cialis daffodils 20mg 20 mg levitra reviews cheapest soft cialis taking cialis 20 mg 10mg cialis review zovirax acyclovir online malaysia viagra online nexium 40mg rash hydrochlorothiazide 50 mg tab cialis 2.5 generic le viagra 100mg zithromax 600mg online cipro xr 5oomg clomid online cialis 100 mg lilly 1000 mg metformin hcl cialis kac mg buy levitra europe stopping lisinopril 40mg ervaringen clomid 50mg buy 25 mg viagra 200 mg synthroid celebrex 200mg francais 5mg cialis price generic viagra phoenix taking 100 mg lexapro viagra genericos valtrex medication online buying viagra net funziona cialis generico cialis brand 5mg glucophage 500 mg xr propecia and generic cialis 20 mg 30 metformin generic manufacturers lisinopril 10 mg dose generic powdered viagra chewable viagra online cialis 50 mg dosage kamagra best buy generic 10 mg levitra cialis 10 mg werking zovirax online cream buying viagra brazil generic viagra forums 2011 viagra 25 mg forum levitra order prescription cost celebrex 200mg tijuana generic cialis cialis 5 mg dosierung cialis online nz propranolol 2 5 mg lisinopril 5 mg buy 40 mg levitra viagra 100mg deals prednisone 40mg cheap buy viagra antibiotik augmentin 625mg lexapro 15mg posologia 20 mg prednisone alcohol valtrex valacyclovir 500 mg viagra brand 100 mg zoloft generic alternative cheapest viagra cialis zoloft 25 mg vidal celebrex 100 mg precio strattera uk online harga nexium 20 mg viagra 100 mg zararlari xenical tablets cheap order zithromax suspension viagra onlinee buying cialis online dubai xenical 120 mg thailand generic wellbutrin reviews celebrex 200 mg uses levitra cheap 20mg buy doxycycline 100 mg diflucan buy generic viagra online delivery zusammensetzung viagra 50 mg levitra odt 5mg generic strattera launch synthroid 0.25 mg metformin 500 mg e clomid 50mg comprar 150 mg viagra overnight lexapro online cheap generica cialis USA canada generic celebrex diflucan 150 mg cena simge viagra metformin 500 mg sr cialis 10mg billigt cipro oral 500mg cheap kamagra phenergan 50 mg iv diflucan caps 150mg buy amoxil medication lexapro generic depression viagra buy karachi buy paypal viagra viagra pills cheap viagra 150 mg purchase glucophage online buy generic wellbutrin 150 mg lexapro 30 mg anxiety cheapest cialis 10 mg levitra online 5mg augmentin prospect 1000 mg is cialis generic nexium 40 mg astrazeneca mexico cialis generico order cialis 50mg valtrex generic pill amoxil 500 mg alcool levitra odt 10mg tadalafil cialis 5 mg cialis 40 mg precio review cialis 200mg viagra 50 mg dosage prices viagra online online chewable viagra cialis 20 mg jakarta propecia online merck xenical cheapest price buy chinese nexium professional viagra generic alli orlistat buy anwendung viagra 50 mg viagra 100mg good generic nexium medication generic viagra dosage wellbutrin hcl 75mg prednisone 20 mg cost generic cialis e 20 cialis 2.5mg order australian cialis 100mg cialis 20 mg 2 li buy liquid zithromax cheap viagra nottingham celebrex 400mg price zovirax 800 mg price viagra 150.mg cheap drugs cialis costco valtrex generic viagra 100 oder 50 mg cheap priligy dapoxetine valtrex generic form generic cialis health nexium 40m mg phenergan promethazine 25 mg celebrex 200mg australia wellbutrin xl 150 generic cheap levitra.com cialis 2.5 mg generic generic levitra professional buy valtrex walgreens steroids online prednisone buying viagra manila warzava buy viagra cialis mg dose pharmacy online viagra cialis 10 mg cupon augmentin cpr 500 mg viagra buy levitra cheap levitra medications augmentin 620mg 150 mg clomid bijwerkingen generic viagra legality xenical 120mg tablet cipla clomid 50 mg nexium dosage 40 mg 40 mg propranolol anxiety lisinopril 40 mg generic brand cialis order generic viagra for 2012 valtrex 3000 mg 30 mg prednisone 2 weeks cyproheptadine periactin 4mg thailand buy viagra clomid 25 mg pct cipro 750 mg tehlikelimi generic synthroid ok lasix 20 mg identification cialis 20mg 4 strattera 20 mg cipla propranolol 40 mg pret lisinopril 10 mg sandoz cialis 80 mg wiki cialis 500mg pattaya buy cialis buy wellbutrin generic generic xenical online strattera 60 mg uk generico lexapro 10 mg buy viagra nz generic viagra article cialis online.com lexapro generic there clomid 50 mg tablet buy levitra tablets cheap viagra soft 1500 mg zoloft generic viagra results cialis 5 mg generique bijwerkingen celebrex 200 mg viagra 50 mg effetto cialis 5 mg infarmed hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg mylan online viagra reviews 25 mg phenergan iv costo nexium 40 mg generic viagra atlanta dosaggio levitra 5 mg prednisone dosage 60 mg stockholm buy viagra lisinopril online 30mg metformin 500 mg medicine propranolol 2o mg nexium 40 mg info erythromycin mg acne cheap priligy 2.5 mg viagra buying celebrex mexico levitra 100 mg fiyati generic lexapro 2012 mylan online cialis canada levitra singapore online buy safe cialis celebrex 100mg caps cialis 5 mg argentina augmentin buy canada original cialis 5mg viagra online barato valtrex generic cheap nexium ec 20mg cheap original viagra propecia 1mg discount levitra 20mg benefits diflucan online drug doxycycline 100mg milk refill cialis 10mg metformin xr 750 mg khasiat cialis 20 mg cialis pills 2.5 mg truth generic cialis cialis 20 mg 36 hours medicamento celebrex 200 mg order cialis australia nexium 10 mg presentacion cialis generic image 20 mg prednisone dosage buy levitra onlines cipro xr 1000 generico generic viagra paypal viagra tab 50mg buy 20mg doxycycline generic viagra zoll cytotec apteka online viagra 100 mg. upotreba online meds viagra 75 mg of cialis amoxil 875 mg price vente cialis online lexapro 5mg online viagra generico mercadolivre cytotec misoprostol 200 mg buy real xenical generic viagra 20 mg cialis generico aurochem prednisone 5 mg tapering lasix 5 mg online 100mg viagra strength metformin 1500 mg pregnancy clomid online drugstore cialis 5 mg colombia uk viagra online propecia 5mg hair viagra for womencheap diflucan 150mg tablets walmart generic lexapro buy lasix singapore doxycycline 1000mg acne order lasix medication buying valtrex thailand wellbutrin 150 or 300 mg buying viagra paris 40 mg prednisone 3 days buy viagra discount cialis 5 mg or 20 800mg generic viagra 20 mg prednisone cat doxycycline 100mg review cialis 5 mg uk doxycycline online generic viagra bahamas dejavu generico viagra 2buy levitra viagra propranolol clorhidrato 10 mg vet doxycycline 100mg viagra online istanbul cialis online buy legit viagra generic asda buy viagra viagra 34434 buy review generic levitra existe cialis generico lisinopril 5mg itching montreal buy cialis cialis jelly online augmentin sale online metformin 1000 mg online kamagra 100mg oraljelly doxycycline 150 mg used usa cheap viagra mastercard viagra generic viagra 100 mg tablet lasix 20 mg reviews dapoxetine 120mg nexium 40 mg tabletta nolvadex online prescription erythromycin 500mg price 200 mg celebrex cheapest propecia review taking 25 mg zoloft obat celebrex 100 mg cialis online sales arzneimittel cialis 5mg phenergan 25 mg dose cialis buyback viagra generic risks doxycycline 20mg pharmacy doxycycline 150 mg identification 20 mg propranolol wellbutrin generic 300mg viagra online singapore dapoxetine generic priligy cialis 2omg fta 4 fast cheap viagra generic viagra uk lexapro 5 mg tablet cialis 20 mg paypal lexapro 20 mg split forum generic viagra nexium order online buy cialis onlaine generic viagra bulk