‘I took up making films to redeem myself’
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Mansoor Khan is a Bollywood urban legend, for being the director who made four popular films and gave it up to open a homestay in Coonoor. In this rare interview, Khan talks about his cinema, reveals that Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar was supposed to be his first movie, that they shot an alternative, happy ending for Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and that cousin Aamir Khan still hasn't gotten over the fact that he cast Shah Rukh Khan in Josh. Excerpts:
What made you swap films for making cheese?
I was never ambitious about films. Though I did study engineering and computer science, I knew that a non-urban life would make me happy. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar was the only film I wanted to make. I wanted it to be my first film.
Then how did Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT) become your first film?
I started writing Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar much before QSQT. I was like the character Sanjay Lal (played by Aamir). I was irresponsible and needed to learn about responsibility and the importance of valuing others. I wanted to make a small-scale film about this boy and his world but I wasn't able to write it well. I stopped midway. By this time, my father (filmmaker Nasir Hussain) wanted to launch Aamir and he came up with the story of QSQT. I ended up directing it.
How did films happen?
I had zero interest in films. I would watch my father's films only to criticise them. My father was a sport about it and would only want to know ki mazaa aaya ki nahin. I went for engineering but didn't complete it. I've actually never completed anything in my life. Films happened in the process of running away from engineering.
I was always into gadgets and introduced video edit on a Sony recorder. I had great plans of doing alternative programming for Doordarshan, and even asked them if I could video-edit their ghazal programme so that it could be presented in a better way. I used to play the piano and drums and liked to visualise the music. That was one of the reasons I got into filmmaking. I realised that if I wanted the songs to look good, I'd probably need to make a film. In a way, I took up making films in order to redeem myself. I made a pilot film called Umberto and Amole Gupte (Stanley Ka Dabba director and Taare Zameen Par writer) acted in it. I wanted to see whether I could tell a story. My dad saw the film and asked me to direct QSQT.
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