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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

New York is on post-9/11 prejudices: Kabir Khan
Robin Bansal, IANS
New Delhi, June 13, 2009
First Published: 16:22 IST(13/6/2009)
Last Updated: 19:42 IST(13/6/2009)

Director Kabir Khan is ready with his second directorial venture New York and says the film highlights prejudices against certain nationalities and religions across the world after the 9/11 attacks in the US.

"'New York' is based on part of the political canvas of 9/11, but it speaks of prejudices after the great human tragedy. It is a definite and very relevant subject about post-9/11 prejudices that have increased after the attacks," Khan told IANS in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.

"We have in fact divided time in a pre- and post-9/11 world in the film to highlight its obvious repercussions in times to come. The repercussions of the attacks are still very strongly felt globally and will continue to do so," said Khan who made his directorial debut with Kabul Express.

Set in New York, the narrative is spread over nine years and revolves around three young friends whose lives take an unexpected turn after the terrorist attacks. Produced and distributed by Yash Raj Films, New York stars John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Irrfan Khan in the lead.

It is releasing June 26 worldwide.

Kabir Khan, who shot the film in New York as well as Philadelphia, says shooting in New York came easy.

"They (New York Film Commission) were fully supportive, as it is not an anti-something film. It is a very balanced story and not a jingoistic film.

"Even the American crew enjoyed it. In fact, the last day of our shoot was the last day of George W. Bush's presidency in the US...the very next day Barack Obama took charge (as the new American president)," he said.

"Kabul Express" had showcased the autobiographical aspects of his stay in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

On being asked if New York also has such personal elements, Khan said: " Kabul Express was very autobiographical but New York is a wider and much larger journey. Though it has been drawn from my experiences that I've seen and observed during 9/11, as I was there when it happened, it is not autobiographical at all.

"The treatment is more dramatic and more mainstream but eccentricities are very different. Instances like people's experiences with the FBI and the whole society getting paranoid and prejudiced...a lot of such observation, research and talking with people has gone behind the film," he explained.

Asked if it was in any way a tribute to the Indian victims of the disaster, he asserted: "I won't call it a tribute to any Indian who is a victim of the attacks. It's a great human tragedy and we can't trivialise it by drawing lines on nationality.

"The movie is actually part of a global and contemporary story. It's just that it's a Hindi film and the actors are Hindi protagonists. But the characters can be from any part of the world."

Apart from his directorial debut, Khan's two documentaries -- The Forgotten Army (1999) and The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl (2006) -- too revolved around serious subjects.

"It's not about fascination. These are things that are dominating the world today and both my films are human stories set against these backdrops. However, it was not a conscious decision at all to make a film with a 9/11 context but while we were working on the story, it just got into it," he said.

Khan's next project is also for Yash Raj Films.

(Robin Bansal can be contacted at robin.b@ians.in)


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