Actors do get hurt in scenes involving physical fights – Parvez Fazal Khan
Noted action director Parvez Fazal Khan talks about the gritty and realistic action in Badlapur and how he went about choreographing these sequences.
You have worked with Sriram Raghavan on his previous films. What was his brief to you for Badlapur?
I have previously worked with Sriram Raghavan on two films, Johnny Gaddar and Agent Vinod. So I have a good rapport with him and understand his style. He wanted very real, natural and bloody action for Badlapur. He took me to all the locations before the shoot and we discussed the requirements of the scenes.
The action in Badlapur involves a lot of physical fights. How did you train Varun Dhawan?
Varun is a great guy and is good with action. He has worked very hard for this film. The concept of the film was such that the actors had to mould themselves according to the action requirement. There is a scene where Varun goes to a basement where Nawazuddin is expected to come. And suddenly Nawazuddin grabs him from behind and chokes him with full force. Varun literally turns blue but manages to beat Nawazuddin, almost makes him unconscious and manages to get free. All the contact is real and the actors have given their best shot in each scene.
Varun has also contributed to choreographing the action. What was your association like?
My only aim during the shoot is that the director’s shot should always look perfect. The choreography is planned accordingly to compliment the shot. As per the director’s requirements, the movements are changed. When actors get involved they might suggest a different movement that they are more comfortable with. If I feel that the suggestion makes the action look better, then we incorporate it in the choreography so the actor can perform the stunt in a better manner. So I am open to inputs from everyone and try to fit it in the sequence as long as it goes with the entire concept. The same happened in Badlapur also.
How was the experience of working with Nawazuddin as he hasn’t done hardcore action earlier?
I have known Nawazuddin for a long time. He is a very hardworking actor and does everything fabulously. There is a scene in the jail, where Nawazuddin had to climb and cross over a 50 feet wall, and though we were apprehensive, he managed to do it brilliantly. In the action scenes with Varun, there were a lot of fistfights, grabbing, pushing etc., and these movements do hurt, but Nawazuddin’s body language was perfect throughout. When we show the actors the choreography, we ask them to try and keep it as a real as possible so that it appears real even on screen. And he managed to do it really well.
Have any of the actors worked with body doubles? If yes, for which scenes?
For some scenes body doubles have been used. For instance Vinay Pathak had to jump out of a moving car in the beginning chase sequence and the car is in high speed. So we used a stuntman to jump out of the car. Vinay then jumps on the train tracks and there is a train coming in full speed and he has to run. It took some time to get the shot right but he managed to do it. So at times the actors have to do deadly stunts by themselves.
Tell us about the making of the car chase sequence with Nawazuddin and Yami Gautam.
It is a chase sequence that happens in the beginning of the film. There is a bank robbery that happens following which Nawazuddin forcefully gets into Yami’s (She plays Varun Dhawan’s wife) car which has her kid also. The police are following them. There is a struggle that happens inside the car between Nawazuddin, Vinay Pathak, Yami and the child. In that scuffle the child gets pushed and thrown out of the car and dies. Yami is in shock but continues to scuffle with Nawaz and in the process the police shoots him on his hand. Vinay jumps out of the moving car. There are several stunts happening in one sequence and it was complicated but we managed.
There is a confrontation scene between Varun and Nawazuddin that happens in the jail. How did you’ll shoot it?
It happens in the jail when Varun confronts Nawazuddin about his wife’s death. There is a heated argument shot in a 10 X 10 feet, bathroom. There were walls, which we couldn’t pad up. So Varun is banging Nawazuddin against the walls, beating him with his elbows, throwing him on the grills and so on. It was a complicated set up. Anil (Mehta) Sir was handling the camera and we couldn’t afford anything extra coming into the shot or it would get spoilt. And no matter how much you try, in such scenes involving physical fights the actors do get a little hurt in the process.
You have choreographed the action for so many films. How is Badalpur different from other action films?
I’ve worked in over 51 films and have done various kinds of action in each film. Every time I have tried to do something new, Agent Vinod was different from Bullet Raja and Detective Byomkesh Bakshi is very different from Badlapur, which is very real. I have learnt from all my films. With Badlapur, the action was realistic; we shot on live locations with real properties. Everyone has been very involved and the actors have done a great job as per the requirements of the scenes. I’m hopeful that people will also like the action.