As Sultan marches ahead –it has just touched the 200 crore figure at the boxoffice—its director Ali Abbas Faizalhas stopped counting.
“The pressure, will it touch 300 crores….will it cross 300?… is mounting. Its getting to me. I know Sultan gives me certain standing as a filmmaker . I also know what some great man said about success, that with power comes responsibility,” says Ali humbly.
Ali is tormented by the expectations of the audience. “I’ll be expected to deliver an even bigger film after Sultan. I don’t want to think about this. I am just happy that the film has connected with the audience.And when a real-life wrestler like Sangram Singh says Salman looks authentic doing the wrestling moves I feel we’ve achieved what we set out to do.”
Suddenly the game of kushti is talking-point in the national reacreational realm.
Says Ali, “When people say Sultan will do to wrestling what Chak De did to hockey I feel elated. It takes a star likeSalman or Shah Rukh to get audiences into the theatre to watch a film about a game that isn’t cricket or football.”
Ali feels Sultan connects with equal vigour with audiences in both the non-urban and urban centres. “There is thatmitti ki khushboo in the presentation. And audiences have sensed it.It’s embedded in the game of wrestling. If I had made a film about,say, fencing or boxing, I don’t think it would have had the same impact.Every Indian identifies with wrestling. Kushti is a sport we all know.”
Getting [tooltip id="c1b465420d07c688942ed18eadfd9f92" keyword_color="#000000" background_color="#ffffff"][tooltip id="4db8f5608d45f5de7881d9bce162f4bf"]Salman Khan">[/tooltip][/tooltip] into a langoti and the wrestler’s akhada wasn’t easy.
“When I look back I wonder how we did it. But now when I see the appreciation the film is getting it all seems worth it,” the director says a silent prayer.
Ali has a lot more friends now. “My parents are totally impervious to Mumbai’s film world. But when they’re people stopping on the street in my hometown Dehradun to tell them their son has done them proud, they feel good.When my parents feel good I feel happy. Suddenly there are so many people claiming to know me.I feel my life and career have begun now.”