New Delhi: His debut movie, ‘Allah Ke Banday’, is drawing comparisons with multiple-Oscar winning drama ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ as both explore juvenile crime and Mumbai`s dark underbelly. Director Faruk Kabir takes it as a compliment and claims his film is much more "hardcore".
" `Slumdog Millionaire` is a fabulous film. Luckily for me, I had already written and casted for my film before that came in the open. If there is a comparison being drawn with it, I take no offence to it," Kabir told reporters in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.
"In fact, I take it as a compliment. If people feel there is some kind of semblance there, then it`s superb. I am very happy as I am going to surprise audiences by giving something different. `Slumdog...` was not a film about juvenile crime per se, it was more of a fantasy and `Allah Ke Banday` is a lot more hardcore," said Kabir, who has acted in the film.
Produced by Ravi Walia, the Rs.5.5-crore film is being distributed by PVR Pictures in India. Earlier scheduled to hit screens Oct 22, the movie has now been fixed for a Nov 12 release.
Starring Sharman Joshi, Naseeruddin Shah and Kabir in the lead, it also has Atul Kulkarni, Anjana Sukhani and Rukhsar in pivotal roles. The movie revolves around the lives of two 12-year-old boys living in a slum in the Maximum City. From delivering drugs for a Mafia to looting people, the two aspire to assert their position in the world of crime.
"`Allah Ke Banday` is an edgy, raw, social thriller. It is a redemption film and a journey drama of two boys from childhood to boyhood into manhood. It has a strong emotional and social resonance," Kabir said.
Statistics suggest there are more than 1.7 million juvenile offenders in the country who are affected by crime in one way or the other.
"There are a lot of real life inspirations and a lot of news headlines from a lot of papers that went behind this movie... I met a lot of kids associated with juvenile crime. I shot three to four hours of footage with them. I came across the spirit they have for life, the kind of crazy lifestyle they live and how they mature much before time.
"Unicef too provided me a lot of archival footage for the research. I have used that for a song `Kya hawa kya badal` with Kailash Kher," added the first-timer, who has also shot a "Sin City" style graphical music video for a song "Maula" in the movie.
Noteworthy is that the 28-year-old has wielded the megaphone for his debut venture in a new fashion.
"The movie has been shot with a restless pace which is in sync with the characters who themselves are very restless. The camera moves according to every character`s inherent energy. It has been shot in a very guerrilla kind of filmmaking style which is very fast and with hidden cameras at 47 locations across Mumbai," he said.
"For example, Naseer saab`s character moves very slowly just like a python -- so the camera also becomes very slow. Sharman`s character is like a lion - aggressive yet restrained. And my character is like a monkey -- extremely restless, so the camera has been panned accordingly," he added.
Inspired by Kailash Kher`s hit song in the movie ‘Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II’, the title of the film has symbolic connotations.
"There is a very simple symbolic meaning behind the title. Some 1.7 million kids are exposed to crime in the country; based on a thought that those who have no one have god by their side -- these kids are all god`s children (Allah Ke Banday) for me," said Kabir.
After dropping out of college in the first year itself, Kabir started working with directors like Aziz Mirza and Santosh Sivan. He then went to New York for a year to study screenwriting and filmmaking before shooting the documentary "Unheard Voices of the People of India" for which he traveled 27,000 km by road in the country.
Kabir`s future projects include producer Sanjay Khan`s ‘Welcome To The Jungle’.