Ishrat Khan Says, “The Game Of Filmmaking Has Completely Changed”

Filmmaker Ishrat Khan kept honing his skills for nearly three decades before taking the plunge as a director

Filmmaker Ishrat Khan kept honing his skills for nearly three decades before taking the plunge as a director. He feels today newcomers are in a hurry to get behind the camera but that was not the case when he started.

“Nothing is learned overnight! I worked behind the camera for years and years. I never even got the thought that I will direct someday. Bas yahi junoon rehta tha ki kaam seekhna hai, aur accha karna hai! Today, within a few months in the industry, newcomers become directors.”

The filmmaker adds, “We wanted to learn everything — writing, camera, editing, camerawork, and what not! Also, then films used to be made in at least a year while today they’re made in a few months or even days. 28 years later, I thought it was the right time to helm a project. We made it in just 19 days. The game has changed completely.”

Khan was initially into merchandising before he got inclined towards films through his elder brother Salim Khan, a film distributor and producer. “I started with TV serial Chandrakanta (1994) and got so neck-deep into it that I was made chief assistant director. My first feature film was Himmatwala as associate director and then joined Anees Bazmee with Radhey Shyam Sita Ram, which unfortunately got shelved. Then I did multiple projects with him including No EntryWelcomeThank You, and so on,” he says.

His debut film as a director has won 10 awards in various film festivals in India and of late at Kolkata International Film Festival, and now, they are planning to send it to Cannes and release it in the theatres somewhere in July.

Guthlee is a full-length feature film in which every character is a parallel lead — child artiste Dhanay Seth, his father Subrata Dutta, school principal Sanjay Mishra or Kalyanee Mulay. The story is about the state of education and caste system as the boy belongs to the community of manual scavengers. I have written its screenplay as well and it has been produced by Pradeep Rangwani.”

He has two more films in the pipeline. “I will be directing Dua Salam a romantic comedy in Mumbai and we are currently locking the cast. In another film, Love Ki Arranged Marriage, we will be shooting in Bhopal and Orchha. We will be shooting both films one after another.”

Besides, he will be shooting his next Mathura and Vrindavan. “I am also an associate director in Dream Girl-2 and did the additional screenplay as well. I was also a part of both writing-direction teams in the first part.”

On remakes and success of South Indian films, he says, “If you make Himmatwala and Coolie No 1 with the same flavour then the audience will reject it. But if they are remade with some freshness then it can work. See, South films are working because of their freshness in content, even though the formula is the same. But when these same megastars will come to Hindi films they might not work as we have seen in the past. So, there is no formula to filmmaking!”

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