Bade Miyan Chote Miyan: ‘Most Difficult Film Of My Career’

‘When you’re attempting a genre such as action with two big action heroes, your film needs to look and feel a certain way, which was very difficult to achieve.’

IMAGE: Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan.

Bade Miya Chote Miya, featuring Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff in the title roles, has opened to underwhelming reports. Director Ali Abbas Zafar, whose earlier credits include the two Salman Khan hits Tiger Zinda Hai and Sultan, insists shooting his latest film was the toughest.

Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is the most challenging and difficult film of my career. The kind of vision the script demanded and the journey to practically achieve it was a struggle. Especially when you’re attempting a genre such as action with two big action heroes, your film needs to look and feel a certain way, which was very difficult to achieve.

“The promise of Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, as the title suggests, is that it delivers a big screen visual entertainer. We’re very happy as a team that we have created something that we believed in right from the time we wrote the script.

“I think it’s a very visual film, it’s a very entertaining film, it’s very much today’s film. And because it’s designed for two action heroes, we’ve tried to push the bar in the genre of action in a very real way.”

Ali thinks nationalism is a solid idea to hold on to.

“There is no emotion bigger than deshbhakti if you go right with it, but deshbhakti is not the only emotion within Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. There’s a lot more happening.

“The film is very topical of what’s happening with the human race all around the world. When you come and watch the film, you will understand that the film has a lot of drama, relationships, and human emotions which are very universal.”

He also reposes huge faith in in the action genre. “Action as a genre is a very viewable, audience friendly genre. People like to come to theatres to watch larger than life movies. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is designed to be one of those movies.

“It’s a community film, it’s a family film, you can watch it with your kids and your grandparents, and it is very very entertaining.”

Ali feels the genuine camaraderie between Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff gave the film its fillip.

“The best thing to happen to Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is the relationship and bond that Akshay Sir and Tiger developed from the time we started reading the script, even before we went on the set. I feel they both inspire each other.

“Akshay Sir is definitely more experienced, but he always says that he’s learned a lot from Tiger with how he keeps his agility and his physical strength going. They both are true-blue martial artists so they had a lot to talk about.

“The credit goes to Akshay Sir to create that bond and energy for everyone around them and on set.”

So no ego problems between the two leading men? “There were no ego problems. Yes, there were huge setbacks with respect to the weather because we’ve shot in extreme climates, whether it was Scotland and London in winter or whether it was the heat of Abu Dhabi. But that’s a part of film-making which comes into play when you want to do films on real locations.”

IMAGE: Director Ali Abbas Zafar with wife Alicia. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ali Abbas Zafar/Instagram

Ali Abbas Zafar has enjoyed his journey so far.

“I think I’ve been fortunate enough and God has been kind that I’m doing something I enjoy. I like to do different genres. Mere Brother Ki Dulhan was a romantic comedy, Sultan was a sports action drama while Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is an action comedy with a bit of drama.

“The idea is that whatever you make, you should enjoy. Make it for the audience who has given you so much love over the years. With every film, you should push yourself out of your comfort zone to do something new.”

Anything Ali would like to change in his cinema?

“In Bharat, I would have liked to tighten the second half. I would have liked the part where Salman finds his sister Tabu who he loses at the time of Partition, to be the climax of the film. Had we ended that film at an emotional high, I think the film would have resonated with the audience even more.”

Having worked on both largescreen format and OTT, Ali feels both are equally advantageous.

“Both platforms are great to express your stories. But when you make a film for the big screen, your product needs to be solid and attractive enough for an audience to pay their hard earned money, take time out from their busy schedule and come and sit in the theatre.

“For two-and-a-half hours, you need to create content that captivates the audience and their mind so that they don’t look into their phones and are entertained with your product.

“I think creating content for cinema with time has become more challenging, and when a film gets love you see that the business of that film multiplies manifold. Also, when the audience doesn’t relate to your film, that shows in the box office numbers as well.

“As makers, times are really challenging for us and we will now have to push ourselves harder to create content for cinemas.”

Now Ali wants to take a break. “I wish to spend some time with my family, my wife and my daughter who’s a year-and-a-half old, and then maybe start something towards the end of the year.”