Karan Malhotra is no stranger to criticism. Despite being applauded for remaking the cult film Agneepath, he could not escape comparisons between the old Amitabh Bachchan starrer and the current version with Hrithik Roshan as the protagonist.
When asked about his views on whether ‘inspired films’ truly deserve to be India’s official entries to the Oscars, Karan says that it all boils down to the filmmakers intent. “Whether a film is a remake or parts of the film are inspired by other films, what matters at the end of the day is whether the audience connects with the director’s vision,” he says.“There is a difference between blind copying as the formula has worked in the past and loving the work enough so that you can respect its sanctity and get inspired by it. Copying is an art and we all are, at one point in our lives, influenced by other people or creations that we look upto,” he adds. He was speaking at the filmmaking masterclass series organised by the Manhattan Short Film Festival.
Talking about his version of Agneepath, he recalls, “My wife thought that I was a serial killer after watching the film. The film hinged on the sole factor of revenge and it showed a lot of anger and baggage that I carry in my life.” On being prodded whether this anger finds a vent in real life, he says, “Everyone’s dark side will be revealed if pushed to the extreme but due to the societal norms, our natural killer instincts get curbed.”
Shedding light on his 15 years of assisting leading filmmakers in trying to get a break, he confesses that it was not easy for a guy who had not even completed his graduation. “I remember the first day when I was assisting Rajkumar Santoshi in Lajja. I came back home at 6 pm and got a firing of my life from my dad as I had left the sets before the director. After that day I never left the sets before the doors were locked,” he says and adds, “There were days when I was out of job for months and people gave me all kinds of tips to get over my sleepless nights. But the energy on the film set and the talented directors under whom I worked made me do everything right from getting chai for the director to swiping the floors with a smile.”