To realise his acting dream, debutant Zaid Khan ran away from his home in 2016. Today, the youngster is all set for the release of his first film slated this year. It took him over seven years to make it happen.
The film has been shot extensively in Varanasi. “When the project was conceived, we were scheduled to shoot it back in my hometown Bangalore and a portion in the temple city. Once I came here for the recce everything got changed. The mystical city blew us away and the project was redesigned and eventually over 85% film has been shot here,” says Khan.
Going gaga over the locations he says, “Every location with natural light and backdrop is like a painting. Pan a camera anywhere in the city and it comes out as a magical shot. We literally ended up shooting at all 108 ghats and have shot at locations never made known before. We started it as an untitled project and had several names as consideration but eventually we titled it as Banaras.”
Helmed by original Bell Bottom director Jayatheertha the film was shot before pandemic. “We shot it in two schedules in December 2019 and after two months. But then pandemic stuck and everything was stalled. We had shot it in Kannada but seeing the final cut we all were of the view that it should be a pan-India release. Now it will release in five languages including Hindi. Also, as lines between regional and pan-India cinema are blurring so it’s more the reason,” he tells. Khan is so fascinated with the city that he again visited it along with his friends just a year back.
Talking about his journey he says, “My father is a politician and we also have a travel company. Unse bahut maar bhi khai hai! He never supported my acting aspirations so I ran away. He then agreed hoping I won’t be able to cope with it as I had always lived a luxurious life. I came to Mumbai and joined Anupam (Kher) sir’s academy. I did other courses in Mumbai and in Kannada. I got many TV and other offers but I wanted to do a big project. My father’s friend Tilakraj (Ballal) uncle, who was aware of my love for acting and so he decided to produce the film for me.”
Khan feels despite having backing he had his share of struggle too. “My parents still don’t support me and want me to take their legacy forward. I chose to struggle and carve my own way. Now, I hope to win their hearts along with that of the audience.”
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