His last film Sultan with Salman Khan went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters and now director Ali Abbas Zafar says he feels the pressure to deliver a hit again with the superstars’ forthcoming “Tiger Zinda Hai”. The movie is a sequel to “Ek Tha Tiger”, which was the biggest hit of Salman at the time of it’s release in 2012. While the first part was helmed by Kabir Khan the second installment will be directed by Ali.
The filmmaker says there is a certain pressure to live upto the 50-year-old actor’s trust, apart from taking the franchise forward. “The main pressure is, when you get the chance to work with that star again, you need to up your game. You need to tell a story which is more relevant today. That’s important,” Ali said.
“Not only for anything else but also, if that star kind of trusts you so much to do something new to him, explore him in a newer way. Also the fact is that it is a big franchise, it was a big hit. So there is always a pressure to take that franchise ahead.”
“Ek Tha Tiger” chronicled the story of an Indian spy (RAW) code-named Tiger, who falls in love with a Pakistani spy during an investigation. Ali says the sequel will again be set against political backdrop, talking about India’s position in the world. “It is a sequel, but it’s too early to talk about it in detail. It’s a political espionage. It’s about spies, what is happening in the world today, where does India stand, what is right, wrong. It’s about all of that.”
Tiger Zinda Hai also stars Katrina Kaif, who was also their in the first film. While there were reports that the “Baar Baar Dekho” actress will be seen in a strong negative role, Ali says Katrina will “kill” him if he doesn’t give her a meaty role. “I hope I give her a strong character, she will kill me if I don’t. She is my best friend. I hope there are strong characters (in the film).”
From Katrina’s role in “Mere Brother ki Dulhan”, to Anushka Sharma’s in Sultan, the women characters in Ali’s films have always been strong. The director says he is immensely inspired by women around him and hence such strong female characters trickle down in his work.
“I have always seen strong women around me, be it my mother, she was a teacher, she held the house and worked. Women who have opinions and stick to their grounds. In India all our goddesses are women. It’s a country of strong women. It is just that we don’t see it that way because of our shortcoming. It’s high time for India to realise that and create characters which are as stronger as men and take it from there.”
He was speaking at the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).