Filmmaker Faruk Kabir, who made the Vidyut Jammwal-film Khuda Hafiz, started his career at the age of 17. As someone who had returned to Mumbai after spending years at a boarding school, he felt a little out of place without his friends, spread all across the country. “That had made the first year in college a little difficult. I had seen my mother work as a costume designer and that made me curious about how the system in the films worked. I had an outer vision and I wanted to learn more. I used to write and direct Shakespeare’s plays in school. To extend that experience and learn to articulate it better, I went through people to land at Shah Rukh Khan’s office. I got a job because I knew Shakespeare well. I became the last assistant on one of Aziz Mirza’s films that had Shah Rukh and Juhi Chawla in the lead,” recalls Faruk.
Calling Shah Rukh, Aziz, Santosh Sivan and Juhi his industry mentors, Faruk says, “Aziz sir laid the foundation for me. He passed on that culture, that tehzeeb of working with a team while keeping it very respectful and clean. His father Akhtar Mirza had written films for Raj Kapoor. It was a family tradition for him to be the way he was. There was a certain elegance in the way he spoke. He became a great, early influencer in my professional life. I have been a good listener and observer. So, each time that I found myself in these story sittings or crucial production meetings, I felt fortunate because I was getting to learn from the masters of the craft first hand. I learnt the significance of story-writing, and the time it takes to develop a story. I was luckily allowed to make notes. I got a chance to be exposed to the craft at an early age. I picked up the faculties one requires to turn a story into a good screenplay. I learnt the visual language from Santosh Sivan. Shah Rukh bhai taught me grace and timelessness, a superstar who worked harder than his entire team. It rubbed off well on me in that impressionable age. By the time I turned 20, I had experienced his sense of aesthetics, the way he is comfortable with himself and his humility.”
When asked if he has explored the idea of approaching Shah Rukh for a film now, Faruk says, “Yes, I have explored and I feel that today, I am confident and have earned the right to approach him with my work in the last few years. I love him and I feel I want to do something with him which no one has done with him. There’s no point repeating him in his films. I will take something worth his time to him. If it engages his imagination, it will be great. I would love to do something like Singing In The Rain with him. He’s a mature romantic today and he will perfectly fit the bill. He hasn’t been in the romantic space for a long time. I miss seeing that. I hope that filmmakers show some bravery and take something to him that caters to the fact that he has a lot more to offer. He has always been a game changer. No leading man did Baazigar and Darr, he did. He went against the tide of trade for that. He’s always game for interesting things.”