Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi | Published: January 24, 2018 6:33 pm Salman Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar’s latest film Tiger Zinda Hai has crossed Rs 500 crore worldwide.

Ali Abbas Zafar has just delivered one of Bollywood’s biggest hits till date – Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer Tiger Zinda Hai. But, even before it madness could die down at the box office, the director has hopped onto his next project already, another one with Salman titled Bharat. The third project of this hit actor-director duo was announced on Salman’s birthday last month, and it will release on Eid 2019.

Speaking to, Ali shared why he began working on Bharat at a time when Tiger Zinda Hai was breaking records at the theaters. “I’m more workaholic, work drives me the most. I’m very excited to jump into Bharat because that’s something I’ve never done before. It’s a very different genre. I can’t even put it in the bracket of any genre it falls. It’s a beautiful story, a very human story, again it’s a very contemporary story on the question it raises. So all these things are making me excited to start to work and jump into it again. And that’s what I’m looking forward to,” Ali shared in an exclusive chat.

EXCLUSIVE | Ali Abbas Zafar on Salman Khan: I can push him to do things which others cannot

Ali and Salman first teamed up in 2016 blockbuster Sultan. They followed it up with Tiger Zinda Hai last year. As both the films crossed Rs 500 crore at the box office worldwide, their third collaboration is already making news. Bharat is an official adaptation of 2014 Korean film Ode to My Father, which depicted modern Korean history from the 1950s to the present day through the life of an ordinary man. The film will go on floors in June and it will have Salman reportedly sporting five different looks.

“The film spans between his age of 8 years to 65 years. So he will be seen in different age groups in the film. And we are right now doing full research with our Indian and international teams to figure out what is the right way to go about it, whether it is prosthetics or whether it is VFX, how to go about all those things. So we are working on that,” Ali shared.

Salman Khan in Sultan Salman Khan in a still from Sultan.

For Salman, we know what a challenge it was for him to go out of shape for one particular shot in Sultan, donning such varied looks in Bharat won’t be easy too. Does that mean at 52, Salman will again have a physical transformation? “All the films where I have tried to push him hard to look a certain way only happened because he pushed himself hard. He has been acting for a good 30 years and he is such an undisputed superstar of the country. I think every day he needs to wake up with a challenge that ‘Wow! Today I am going to do something new which I have not done in the last 30 years’. To make him feel like that is the director’s biggest job, to make him feel special every day. To get him charged so that he can push himself. Somewhere or the other it all comes from your stories,” Ali said.

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Salman Khan in Maine Pyar Kiya Salman Khan in a still from his 1989 film Maine Pyar Kiya.

Ali has also worked with other big actors like Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma. How different is it directing Salman than these stars? “Fortunately, till now I have not had any bad encounters with my actors. All my actors have loved me, I have loved all my actors. However, directing Salman is a task. I won’t say it has been easy. I just feel that he has been very supportive, his maturity as an actor shows in my work. We work really well together only because I think we very honestly share things with each other. Sometimes, he out rightly tells me a thing which kind of raises a doubt in my head and that question makes me more confident when I am directing. When someone with so much experience puts a doubt in your head, you only become stronger,” the director explained.

Bharat is produced by Atul Agnihotri and will reportedly have Salman in a look similar to his Maine Pyar Kiya. It will be shot in Delhi, Punjab, Spain and Abu Dhabi.

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