After starting his career as an assistant director (Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and Asoka) and garnering attention with 2010 film Allah Ke Banday, director Faruk Kabir has presented a real-life love story in his latest film titled Khuda Haafiz. The movie, starring Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi in the lead roles, is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.
Khuda Haafiz is the story of a newly-wedded couple Sameer (Jammwal) and Nargis (Oberoi), who decide to go overseas for better career opportunities. But their lives turn upside down when Nargis goes missing in a foreign land, and Sameer tries everything in his power to bring his wife back.
During a chat with indianexpress.com, Faruk Kabir revealed how he zeroed in on the film’s title, Khuda Haafiz. “I believe the title of a film usually is hidden in the film only. It is in your script. So, there was one dialogue I had written when this Afghan cab driver Usmaan, played by Annu Kapoor, tells Sameer, ‘Himmat mat haarna, Khuda Haafiz hai tumhara’ (Do not lose hope, God is your protector). So it was this moment that I found the title of my film because the film is a journey of a couple who need God on their side to fight their enemies in an alien land,” the director said.
Though Khuda Haafiz is described as a romantic action thriller, Faruk remarked, “The main emotion of the film is love.” As he began writing the script of the movie he was “sure this story is potent enough that for a year I can sustain the emotion of doing the same thing every day with the same amount of passion.”
And, since Faruk Kabir came with such a clear vision about the story he wants to tell to the audience, it became easier for his lead actors, Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi, to connect to the film. “When Faruq sir narrated the role of Nargis to me, I fell in love with her. I didn’t have to work on the character much because he was clear with the characteristics he wanted Nargis to have,” shared Oberoi, who had to shed her bubbly personality to play a shy and a quiet Nargis.
Echoing similar thoughts as Oberoi, Jammwal told indianexpress.com, ”When the script of Khuda Haafiz came to me, I was impressed with the research he (Faruk) had done and the effort he had put into it. I realised that I don’t have to do anything but surrender to his idea. Also, when I got to know he has worked as assistant director on films starring Shah Rukh Khan and has worked with filmmaker Santosh Sivan, I was sure that this guy knows more than any of us.”
Khuda Haafiz has Vidyut doing what he does best – packing punches and beating the enemies. But the actor and the director assure that here he has done nothing unbelievable. The action in the film is “raw and relatable.” Faruk emphasised, “In the film, Vidyut is doing anything a husband would do to protect his wife.”
Most of the action sequences of Khuda Haafiz have been extensively shot in Uzbekistan. After watching the trailer, many fans of Vidyut Jammwal expressed their disappointment in not being able to watch the well-choreographed stunts on the 70 mm screen. But the 39-year-old actor believes “the audience will like it even on their TV screens.”
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