Zaid Ali Khan has represented the country as a sportsperson and has always been interested in sports. Besides, his father, Moraad Ali Khan, is an Arjuna Award winner, and a well-known shooter. Which is why when Zaid wanted to make a film, he zeroed in on sports as the central theme. After years of dedicated work, Khwaabb, his debut directorial venture, is all set to hit movie screens on May 9.
Khan says that the story idea for the film was suggested by his father more than four years ago. The film traces the journey of two sportspersons, their struggles and the story behind all the glory. “The idea,” says Khan, “was to present a realistic picture of what sportspersons go through on their path to success and fame. We wanted the movie and the characters to be as authentic as possible, so we roped in actors who have had some background in sports.”
Though Khwaabb fits the sports genre of films, Khan says that it has a mix of romance, drama, action and makes for an engaging view. “The sports genre in India is constantly evolving. We have had some really good mainstream commercial films on sports, besides some small-budget independent movies exploring many unique ideas,” he says.
One of the biggest challenges that Khan faced while working on Khwaabb was shooting the underwater sequences. “We got a US-based professional to shoot these segments and we had to travel quite a bit as the movie had to be shot across seven locations, including Dubai,” he says. Working on the movie, he says, has been an “excruciating yet enriching” experience. “It’s worth every bit of effort, because when you believe in what you do and work hard to fulfill your dreams, it always works out well,” he adds. The movie has already garnered good responses from a lot of people, including those in the film fraternity.
Khan studied filmmaking at the Central Film School, London, and has worked on several corporate films, including Mango, a film by Abbas Tyrewala. Khwaabb has been produced by his father. The 25-year-old director admits that no institute can ever prepare you for the kind of work involved in making an actual film. He says, “You do get enough exposure to basic techniques and theory in film school, and this gives you a strong grounding. However, making this movie was an eye-opener for me as there were so many unforeseen circumstances that cropped up and I learnt a lot. I can now proudly say that my people skills are much better as I have to interact with people from all walks of life!”
The key, he believes, is to go out there and do what you want to do. “Youngsters should understand that it is important to try earnestly. If you fail, dust yourself, get up, and try again. What’s the worst that can happen? You may fail, but you have to learn from your mistakes and keep improving your skills,” he says. His father, Moraad Ali Khan, agrees: “One must remember that there are no shortcuts to success. Work hard, and if you have to cross hurdles, work even harder. I have been a sportsperson all my life and I have seen the ups and downs; as a part of the sports administration team too, I have gained some new perspectives on the sports situation in the country, and the world at large. I believe that awareness about sports and its importance is crucial, and that’s what we have attempted to do through this movie.” The movie has defied conventional marketing norms and is primarily targeting school and college students.
Even as the teaser of the film is being screened at a school near Kalkaji, and the crew arrives on stage to address the enthusiastic audience (comprising school students), Khan’s eyes light up. “Even if I can inspire a few students to follow their dreams, I’d pat myself on the back for a job well done,” he concludes with a smile.