Arjun awardee Moraad Ali Khan is confident that the recent shooting of Salman Khan-starrer ‘Sultan’ in Morna area of Muzaffarnagar would change the perception of the people about the area.
Moraad has been continuously trying to project western Uttar Pradesh as a potential location for film shooting and has turned his farmhouse in Morna into a film studio where shooting of the epic serial ‘Mahabharat’ took place for months. Thereafter, he produced a film ‘Khwaab’ under the direction of son Zaid Ali Khan, in which he tried to highlight the hardships of sportspersons in India.
He made renewed efforts to give a new identity to his native region by convincing Salman and Yashraj Films to come and shoot ‘Sultan’ in Jansath area of the district. ‘Sultan’ is scheduled to be released on Eid.
“It was indeed a herculean task to convince Salman and Yashraj Films to come and shoot here,” said Moraad while recalling how it took him over eight months to convince them. “Eventually Salman agreed. Three teams of Yashraj Films visited the area to allay their apprehensions before giving their nod for shooting,” said Moraad, who won the Arjun award in 1996 for his trap shooting skills.
“They were apprehensive about the new area, security and accommodation and we assured them that we would provide everything they required,” said Moraad, who belongs to the lineage of the famous ‘Syed Brothers’ -- popularly known as ‘king makers’ during the reign of the Moguls about 400 years ago. Moraad retired from his sports in 2007. Moraad, who also worked in the corporate world for over 27 years, appreciated the support extended by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and the bureaucracy during the four-day shooting of ‘Sultan’.
“They provided them (film unit) unprecedented security and ensured that the entire team did not have any problem,” he said adding that he believed improvement in infrastructure could attract more production units to shoot their films in the region.
Counting the advantages of the area, the former player says: “Western UP has immense potential and everything required for film shooting. Its rivers, plains and water bodies form picturesque locations. An average visibility of 16 km adds to its suitability for film shooting”.
He said many of the areas here were still virgin and could be explored for showing people something new and refreshing in movies.
On being asked about the image of the badland, Moraad explains: “I think positive and believe in extracting positivity even from negativity.”
He claimed that ‘Sultan’s’ shooting had already given a boost to the region as queries from other directors had started pouring in.
“I have received at least three queries since the shooting of ‘Sultan’,” said Moraad, who believes that frequent shooting schedules could help in strengthening local economy, besides opening up job opportunities for them.