Ahmed Khan: For me, Baaghi 2 is like a litmus test — a make or break moment

Choreographer-turned-filmmaker Ahmed Khan is all set to return to film direction after 10 years with his upcoming film Baaghi 2 starring Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani. In an interview with a leading Indian daily, Ahmed Khan said, “For me, Baaghi 2 is like a litmus test — a make or break moment. If this film doesn’t bring me back into the game then I am not meant to direct a film.”

Adding further, he said, “Nobody gets so many chances in life. Perhaps, people think that I am a good technician. I have been a choreographer for 23 years and survived in the industry, which may have helped me bag another film. The fact that the younger generation is keen on collaborating with me means that I have kept up with the times and haven’t become a Murphy radio.”

Talking about his return as a director after 10 years, he said, “I directed my first film, Lakeer — Forbidden Lines (2004), when I was 28. Though the film had a huge star cast and music by AR Rahman, it didn’t do well. Then, I was offered Fool & Final (2007), which did moderate business, but I had lost interest in direction. I involved myself in choreographing dance numbers, judging reality shows and directing music videos. At least, I was not waiting for a Friday when judgement would be passed. A film’s box office fate did not depend on whether the song I choreographed was a hit or a flop. It was Tiger Shroff who told me that I should direct a film. His excitement propelled me towards direction once again.”

He further explained, “One day, Sajid Nadiadwala (producer) called me and asked me if I was still interested in direction; that’s when he offered me Baaghi 2. After so many years if I am directing a film, it has to be for the biggest producer. I always wanted to direct a hard-core action film. I was constantly offered dance films, but I was not keen on them as I was already choreographing songs.”

Speaking about shooting for hardcore action scenes in the film, the director said, “We travelled to Krabi, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and then Bangkok in search of a mountain on which a chopper could land and simultaneously another chopper would rise up in the air for an action sequence. We have worked with three action co-ordinators in the film including Kecha, Ram Lakshman from the South and Shamsher Khan who brought in different sensibilities. I spent nine months planning all the action sequences, but I shot it in a few days. In fact, this film was shot in 69 days when action films take minimum 100 days. In Kullu Manali, we shot in -13 degrees. Krabi was burning hot when we canned the chopper scene. We have also done a chase sequence in Goa with 40 cars.”

Talking about whether the industry will have more choreographers turning into film directors, Ahmed said, “Kamal Master was the first choreographer to turn director when he made a film with his son. Years later, Farah Khan and I turned directors around the same time. I think what we did made many choreographers believe that they could also become directors. We are technicians, so it’s a natural transition.”