Salman Khan will spar with a real tiger for brother Sohail Khan’s forthcoming film, Sher Khan. "Along with some of the cast and crew members, Salman will take lessons from expert animal trainers in Thailand, where 80 per cent of the film is slated to be shot. This is important for safety requirements," Sohail reveals.
An action-adventure film set in a jungle, Sher Khan apparently aims to raise moral issues like animal poaching and land encroachment. Salman should be right at ease with the subject, considering he has been convicted and has served jail time in Jodhpur for hunting the endangered black buck.
Sohail, who returns to directing after nine years, says, "Majority of the scenes will be shot with a real tiger, we also plan to use special effects like computer graphics (CG) and Animaltronics. We will take a lot of pictures of the real tiger and create a CG version of it. Whenever Salman and the tiger are together in a close-up, we plan to use that technology. For shots which are not too dangerously close, we will use the real tiger." Sources say that the director wanted to make the film in 3D, but Salman had reservations about it since he didn’t think the market existed in India.
But Sohail insists, "Only after the final draft of the script is ready will we decide if it has scope for 3D or not. Kona Venkat, the film’s scriptwriter, just gave me the first draft a fortnight ago. We are working on the story-board now." They plan to contact animal experts to figure out what the tigers can be trained to do. "There will be a doctor and vet on the sets. We will ensure the safety of the animal and of the people around it, before we go on the floors," Sohail assures.
Though the film is set in Assam and Bengal, the Khan brothers will shoot in Thailand to avoid running into trouble with animal activists. Sohail says, “It’s very difficult to obtain permissions and shoot without getting sued by animal activists in India. That’s why we are applying for permissions in Thailand.”
He adds, “Our family loves animals. We’re excited at the prospect of working with a real tiger. Salman and I visited a sanctuary in Bangkok where monks have been taking care of tigers for 300 years.
Kids walk around with tigers on leashes. We were surprised to see how disciplined the animals were.”