Pressure To Make Action Film With Action Heroes More As Expectations Are High: Ali Abbas Zafar

MUMBAI, Apr 9: When there are two top action stars like Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff shouldering a stunt-intensive film, the pressure to deliver is more, says Ali Abbas Zafar, who has directed the duo in “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan”.
While Akshay cemented his position as an action star in the 1990s with the “Khiladi” films, Tiger is the new-age hero in the genre with movies such as “Baaghi” and “War” to his credit.
“Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” will see Akshay and Tiger perform death-defying stunts as they play two elite soldiers who embark on a mission to recover a stolen AI weapon from a notorious enemy. The film hits the screens on Thursday.
Ali, known for stylised action in films like “Tiger Zinda Hai”, and “Bharat”, said he felt compelled to present the actors in a never-before-seen avatar.
“There’s actually more pressure when you make an action film with an action hero as the expectation is already very high. So, with them (Akshay and Tiger) the idea is to show the audience something that they’ve never seen before, whether it’s hand-to-hand (combat), or chase sequence. So, the bar has to be higher because they are known as action heroes,” the director told PTI in an interview here.
Having already directed superstars like Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Anushka Sharma in separate films, Ali said working with a popular actor these days comes with its own set of challenges.
“Today, my biggest worry is that all of them are such big superstars and with such a huge fan base. You can’t do frivolous work with any of them. The script needs to be good and it should be of their level.
“For me, that wow factor needs to be there in a script, whether I go to Akshay Kumar sir, Salman Khan sir, SRK, Aamir Khan or anyone. They should feel that the material I brought to them is ‘worth their time’,” he added.
Ali recalled when producer Jackky Bhagnani asked him to helm the movie, he immediately accepted the offer.
“…He served the best dish on the platter, who is an action film lover, and I didn’t say no to it. When he offered me this story, I was in the middle of writing a two-hero theatrical action spectacle post ‘Bloddy Daddy’,” he said, adding, “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” is a completely new film and has nothing to do with the 1998 action-comedy of the same name, except the title.
The story is always important, the 42-year-old filmmaker said.
“With ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’, we are very confident of the story that we were making. Also, an audience doesn’t come to watch just an action or comedy film, they come to watch the story.
“If there is no story, you can spend as much money on action and people will not like it. I feel when people watch this story everything else which is happening around it, the paraphernalia or scale of the action will all make much more sense and impact.”
According to Ali, he invests almost a year-and-a-half writing a script.
“Once my script is ready, everything else is a cakewalk, I start pre-production, so I’m not wasting the time. If the script is good and even if you make a bad film, your film will not be a flop, but if the script is not good, even if you make the best film it will not work,” he added.
When it came to casting the antagonist, the filmmaker said he was eager to work with a superstar from a different industry. Enter Malayalam star Prithviraj Sukumaran, who Ali pursued for over a month.
“The beauty of the film is that when you’ve a stronger villain, then automatically your heroes become stronger, it’s all through writing. I was sure from day one that I wanted to cast a superstar from another industry for the role of a villain.
“I’ve been a very big fan of Prithvi because of the way he has handled his stardom in Malayalam cinema, which is commercial and critical both,” he said, heaping praises on Prithviraj’s latest release “Aadujeevitham”.
Ali said he wasn’t particularly concerned about Akshay’s recent box office setbacks, with “OMG 2”, which featured the actor in a pivotal role, being an exception.
“I am bringing him into the space that his audience wants to watch him in the most, which is action.
“My learning of working with Salman sir and all the stars that I’ve worked with, is if you satisfy their core audience base, they will always give you the love back. The trick is to give the audience the best version of Akshay Kumar as an action star. So, I’m not stressed at all about the movie.”
Also featuring Manushi Chhillar and Alaya F, “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” is produced by Pooja Entertainment in association with AAZ.