Filmmakers@Google: Shibani Bathija


Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 27.06.2010

Transcript:
>>Mahim: I'm honored tonight to introduce Bollywood screenwriter, Shibani Bathija, who's
changing the face of Bollywood cinema one movie at a time. Before I--
[applause]
Before I begin, I must say that not even the threat of a British Airway strike stopped
her from being here today.
So, when she thought that her flight may get cancelled, she still did everything she could
to be with us. So, that should make us especially honored.
[applause]
>>Shibani: It's great to be here. It really has been wonderful. Thank you.
>>Mahim: Shibani's success lies in her quest to tell unconventional stories. And since
2006, everything she's touched has turned to gold. Her first screenplay was the blockbuster,
"Fanaa," followed by the super hit film, "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kenha." Three of her four films
are in the highest list of the top grossing movies, Bollywood movies, of all time.
Her latest film, "My Name is Khan", reunited her with director, Karan Johar and actor Shah
Rukh Khan, and Kajol; all legends in Bollywood. We'll start the Q&A with a few questions from
me and we'll turn the floor to the audience for questions. Please just raise your hand
if you have a question and I will be replaying the questions for YouTube broadcast.
So, as mentioned, this entire event, the Q&A, will be taped for YouTube broadcast. So, if
you have friends and family who you'd like to share this event with, you can send them
the link after it's online. And with that, please welcome Shibani Bathija.
[applause]
>>Shibani: Thank you everyone, it's been great to be here.
>>Mahim: So, Shibani, your latest film, "My Name is Khan", has been embraced by audiences
in all parts of the world. It is the highest grossing Bollywood movie in the Middle East
as well as the UK, and the second highest grossing in the U.S. Many of the circumstances
seen in the film have also been seen or portrayed in real life. What motivated you to write
this very timely movie, and why do you think audiences have reacted so strongly?
>>Shibani: Actually, the idea for setting a story in the post 9/11 world seen through
the eyes of Muslim protagonist was Karan's idea, the director, Karan Johar. And it, it
was something that he wanted to do and he started off with a slightly different story
but we worked together to actually bring it to what you see today.
But really he, he needs to have credit to have the, to have the foresight and also the,
the appetite and the gumption to actually take on something like this. And I'm very
glad that he asked me to, to write it. I'll always be grateful to him for that.
>>Mahim: Great. So, the original version of the film, different from the version we saw
today, some think depictions that contained African Americans that were controversial.
Some thought the representation inaccurately portrays present day America. Those scenes
have been cut in the international version. What was your intention when creating these
characters, and were you surprised by the response?
>>Shibani: I think that, for me, as a writer, as talking about it purely from a storytelling
point of view, the fact that this man takes on this sort of quixotic mission of trying
to meet The President of the United States and, and say "My name is Khan and I'm not
a terrorist," required him to be a certain way, yes? And also, required him to, in his
own way, do something which would bring him to the attention of the President. Now, if
this was an Indian film, perhaps set in India, usually hunger strikes work, but considering
that it was transpiring in the United States, I really felt that, that something that, he
needed to do something that would be that special, you know?
And also, it was really important for him to do something that united people; that,
that brought together people from different walks of life within the mainstream country
in a way that was, that was special and very, and humanitarian. Hence, the idea of basing
it in a somewhat contemporary event, around Katrina and the fact that it happened in the
United States.
An event that people all over the world knew about, an event that would be under-, well
understood, even by, even to some degree, by Indian audiences because the tsunami happened.
And so this idea of being trapped in a weather situation where there's a lot of devastation
all sort of stemmed from that. And that was really the intention.
Statistically speaking, and, and, as research bears out, on the poorest portion, areas in
this country, some of the poorest areas happen to be in the South, they happen to be rural
and they happen to be predominantly African American. This is not something that, that
I came up with or Karan came up with, it was, it's there in the, in the statistics. So,
that's how the setting came, came about. So, I'm actually, since I haven't talked to every
single person that, that has this comment, my question usually is that, "Are you responding
to the visual interpretation of it, or are you responding to the fact that such a thing
could happen, or such, or such placement in the country is anachronistic or wrong in some
way?"
Because as far as I could, as far as I understood, as far as I could, could discover it was very
much within the realm of possibility as I explained. So, but, since there's such, there
was a fair amount of debate over this, the version that you've seen today, the shorter
version of the film, has, does not have a lot of that representation.
Does it make the film better, does it, or does it sta-, or just sort of allow people
to not be te-, be just led away by something that one portion of the greater whole that
they, that they don't, that they didn't quite like, I'm, I'm not sure. That really is for
audiences to tell. But, there was no intention either on my part or, certainly not on, on
the part of, of the production or, or of Karan to, in any way, hurt feelings or sensibilities
or to, to, to misrepresent anything.
Also, there's a, there's a cultural; there's a cultural lens through how a director from
one country, or people from one country, may see, the, reality of another country, like
"Slum Dog", for instance. It was very well received, say in the United States, but not
so much in India because Indians felt, "That's not us," you know? "That's not how it is.
That's a stereotype." So, that happens a lot as well because it is someone from another
culture taking on another situation, and another country; often there will be that discrepancy.
But, really the film is, is about this , the core of humanity and this man and his
ability to love despite all, and if that's what stayed with people and if that's what
they could take home then I, you know, I hope that our job is done.
>>Mahim: Ok. Thank you. So, to switch gears for a little bit, my next question is about
the reaction from American Muslims. So, by and large, American Muslims have reacted incredibly
positively to this film, but there have been some people unhappy with what they perceive
as a good Muslim versus bad Muslim dynamic, where the protagonist, Rizwan Khan, is the
only good Muslim in the film.
So, for example, people were upset that when a mosque was depicted, it was the only time
when terrorists, for example, were seen in the mosque. There were no other representations
of a place of worship for Muslims. So, what are your thoughts when you hear this, this
kind of reaction?
>>Shibani: I think that's, that's perhaps taking a bit of a narrow view--
because the whole principle of the film is there's good people and there's bad people,
and there's good people who do good for others and bad people who do bad to others and that's
the only difference between them. So, I think of, of every religion and racial representation
that you find in the film, if you take each scene apart you'll find good and bad represented
on equally on both sides.
So, it's not only that, that Rizwan is good, his sister-in-law is good, his brother is
good, his mother is good, so those are all the key characters in the film. And they're
all good practicing Muslims. The particular scene that you talked about was, is, is again,
representative of a lot of research and a lot of discussion with people who said that
there are certain places where, that sort of, harbor, or at least turn a blind eye to
activities of, of recruitment, you know?
And they very often happen to be in, they use the place of worship as a refuge and misuse
that space of worship because there isn't constant monitoring, you see? So, that's actually
what we, what, what was going on rather than saying its like, "Oh, everybody that goes
to a mosque is, is like that." Because that's sort of a narrow view to take, to take of
it.
Whereas, I mean, and the, the fact of the matter is that Rizwan prays when it's his
time to pray, no matter where he is. So, a building actually does not, does not to him
represent the best of the religion or the only way to practice his religion. It is a
daily part of life. It's a, it's a daily process. It's a way of living, which is really key
to, to what Islam is anyway.
>>Mahim: Ok. Thank you. So, another question that I had is about your work in the movie
industry. So, the movie industry for Bollywood and Hollywood can be a tough place for females.
What has been your experience with this in Bollywood and have you had to overcome any
obstacles while pursuing your career?
>>Shibani: I have been very fortunate because the two houses that I started working with,
Yash Raj Film and Dharma Productions, which is the producers of "My Name is Khan" as well,
you know are run by people that, that, who talent and, and dedication and the work that
you put in is, is much more, of much more importance than gender. And so I, personally,
can't speak for this because I have been fortunate where it has not been an issue.
But I have had other stories from other people where, where it has been and honestly, this
is something that, that's sort of one battle at a time. One, one day at a time and one
project or contract at a time. The fact remains that there are many more women actively working
in the industry behind the cameras, whether as directors or as writers now than there
was, say, ten years ago. So, that's actually a positive sign and, and hopefully a sign
of things to come and changes to come.
>>Mahim: Ok, so my last question I have before I open it to the audience was just about your
next work and what you are working on next, so as big fans of your work, we'd love to
hear what your latest project is, if you can talk a little bit about that.
>>Shibani: Oh, sure. I've, I've done actually a couple of scripts post the completion of
writing of, of "My Name is Khan". One of them is, is a screwball in the tradition of old
Hollywood screwballs, which I absolutely love. And have not, it's a genre that hasn't really
been ex-, explored in, in the Hindi context and so I took a break from, from something
intense and, and, and sort of emotional, like "My Name is Khan", and I wrote something that
was completely mad and fun.
And it, it was very therapeutic. So, that's one and the other one is, is a sort of youth
film, which is sort of, sort of takes a look at issues of youth in India have with more
traditional parents and more traditional expectations versus the world they live in right now. So,
both are very special to me in different ways and hopefully they will be up and running
and be brought to all of you very soon.
>>Mahim: Great. So, love to open up the floor to the audience, just wanted to start with
everything with a few question I had. If you guys had any questions along the line of what
I already addressed, or anything Shibani had specifically mentioned, like I said, just
kind of raise your hand and say your question and I'll repeat it for our YouTube audience.
Don't be shy. Ok, up in the front.
His question was just when, when Shibani was writing her films, how much of that comes
really from her own experiences in her own life?
>>Shibani: To address your question specifically, the events that transpire and, and have, you
know, being sort of, of either Asian descent or brown skinned, as, as you said and, and
what that, and the impact of that. I've been fortunate where, where I haven't had anything
particularly untoward happen to me. I've heard that that often is because it, because women
get less of it than men do, in general, which is the opposite gender bias, I suppose.
But I do remember this one time where we were here researching and we went to a small suburban
town, which shall remain unnamed for the larger part because it, you know it was an interesting
experience, and it was, it's a very homogenous, very sort of upscale sort of, very pretty
town, you know and myself and Karan and, and the, my co-dialogue writer, Niranjan were
just sort of walking around and trying to see if this was a good place to shoot. And
we got these really strange sort of looks and, and people were not being very friendly,
which is odd for Northern California, you know? And I just wondered, I was like, "Why
is this happening?"
Because I hadn't really experienced that in the time that I studied in, in San Francisco,
either. And then, I figured it out. The fact was, it was, it was a 9/11 anniversary. We
happened to be in this town; three obviously brown skinned people or, or from Asian descent,
wandering in, an obviously anonymous, anonymously in a place where we wouldn't normally be in
the middle of the day. So, what it actually told me, actually more than the discriminatory
side of it, was that how much fear there is, you know? And there was fear on both sides.
I actually had a scene in the film, which is, is not actually shot or in the film, where
it's a Bart station and there's a maulana, there's a priest, you know from the mosque,
mosque who's wearing tradition outfit and he's just approaching this bench to wait for
the next train to come and from the other side there's, there's a guy who's just done
with his baseball practics-, practice, you know?
Just coming and he has his bat and so, and there was this moment where the, where the
priest looks at the bat, you know? And he's afraid and the man with the bat looks at the
priest with his robes and he's afraid. And they both walk away from the bench, you know?
And that was to me a, a thorough representation of mutual fear, which I think is, is often
at the root of all of these, of all of these incidences and that particular incidence that
happened to us was, if anything, just demonstrative of that.
>>Mahim: Yes, in the back. So the question is how does your writing process start? Do
you have a special muse that you recall from the heavens of the sky or, and how involved
is the director in this process?
>>Shibani: It, it all, it depends. You know, in, it, with this particular film, Karan had
an idea of how, what he wanted to do in terms of where he wanted to set it, and the kind
of story that he wanted to tell. But, he was, he was lovely at once and we sort of agreed
that this was going to be the story of the film, he sort of just let me be, you know?
And just let me go and just write the story in an organic way. And not all directors will
do that and not all producers will do that.
So, I think it, it, sort of, it's, it's very individual; it depends, you know? I've been
fortunate again in working, writing scripts that, that come from my stories, mostly, except
for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" which was Karan's story and it was mostly his, his baby, I just
was, was sort of being the, the part-time nanny along the way.
But, so, and so that makes it very organic and as hokey and hooey and woohoo that this
sounds, but I always feel, I almost fe-, you know, I almost find that the characters talk
to me and there are days where they won't say anything and those are the days that,
that, that there's writers block. Because the idea is not to make them say or behave
a certain way, but to just let them unfold and just do what, what they would do by their
character. So, that's really an, an important part of my writing process.
>>Mahim: Yeah, in the front. So, the first part of that question is why did you choose
to end the life of a young child? And why was protagonist made an autistic character
and not someone who doesn't have an illness?
>>Shibani: The thing is that you know very often, again, back up, part of our research
that came up, there was a lot of stuff that happened in schools, you know? And kids not
being, not really being able to filter or to, or to sort of pretend what sort of perhaps
from what they heard from parents or from other people around them, actually takes things
to heart and actually act out a lot more.
So, so, the setting of that happening as, as a very, you know, as, as, as a way that,
that fear again can permeate and actually percolate down to even to schools and to children,
was very integral to how important it is to address the issue and hence, it happens in
a school and, of course, even for the story, for it happening to the child creates the,
the larger impact.
Where, where an adult could be able to absorb, take, move on; with a child, it's a different
ball game. And, so that was very important to the, to the, to the story.
And as far as Asperger's Syndrome, when we started out with this, and again, this came,
this came from research, Karan had met someone who actually just sort of said he was, he
was a Muslim gentleman and he just said, he said," You know I'm just sometimes so frustrated.
I wish I could just go tell the President that, look, you know, I'm Muslim and I'm not
a terrorist," you know? And it was just a random comment that he made
and, and so when Karan was telling me about this, I'm like, "Oh my God. Wow, imagine if
someone actually set out to do this, actually set out to meet the President." And then he
said, then I started working backwards and I said, "Well, but what kind of a person would
this be, right?" And Karan's like, "Yeah, what kind of person would this be?"
And, so that's where his Asperger's came from, was someone who would take something literally,
who would take on a, what was obviously said in anger from, by his, by his wife, but take
it to heart and actually set out on this quixotic mission, you know? And that's where the Asperger's
came into play and, but once I got into the Asperger's, a lot of that informed Rizwan,
the character. So, one thing informed the other, and then it informed the previous thing.
So, it just sort of became this, hopefully, holistic approach to who he was and why he
decides to do what he does.
>>Mahim: Yes, question in the back.
[audience question inaudible]
>>Shibani: Yes, you know sometimes I guess the only way I have to address that, that
question, actually, is to talk about the process of writing.
And often what happens is that, that what is on paper, is becomes a road map to how
things are taken forward. But there are decisions that are made along the way for whatever reason,
you're enhancing something, or to further demonstrate, or for passage of time. That
may modify what that is, and more often than not, with skilled people behind, behind the
scenes, like Karan and Shah Rukh, and the whole crew, you know those modifications will
really work.
For instance, that whole "can we have sex now" mandala was something they came up with
on the set, which was wonderful, you know? And, it's, it works beautifully. For most
people, they really enjoyed that. And this, perhaps, was one of the things that didn't,
that was a little anomalous. So, you just kind of go with that a little bit, you know?
Not everything that you see on screen has actually been what's on paper. That's just
the, the, it's the reality of my job and, and the reality that actually a lot of audiences
don't understand or can't see; the fact that the final product is finally a group effort,
you know? And, and so that's what you, you go with and as a group, you say, "Yes, that
may not have been too right." But, there were a lot of things that were very right, so hopefully,
that balanced it out.
[audience question inaudible]
>>Shibani: Sorry, which one, which one comes out in Hindi?
[audience question inaudible]
>>Shibani: Yes.
[audience question inaudible]
>>Shibani: You know, there's a particular challenge with a film like this, which is,
which is you're, it's a basically a Hindi film which has a lot of English, obviously
because it's based in the United States, so a lot of times there is a doubling. There
is an English thing, which either has a voice-over, which helps with the Hindi, or then has a
Hindi sort of echo, almost, you know? So that audiences get that, which is why the Bobby
character spoke in English because he worked for BBC, an American channel, but the, but
the college students get an internship with ZTV, or whatever, Star TV, whatever that was,
which was a Hindi channel. So that, so that at every point in time, there is both sides
represented. But, this is a reality of doing a Hindi film, which has a lot of English in
it. So these, so these are things that one has to be careful of, just to make sure that
as many people in the audience actually understand the important information that's given.
>>Mahim: So the question was why was Rizwan typ-, afraid of the color yellow? Is there
some significance behind that?
>>Shibani: Yes, actually, one of the with Asperger's this reac-, this strong reaction
to a color could be one of the traits. And usually the primary colors, so in his case
it was yellow. People have often demonstrated similar, similar reactions to say, red, but
it's, it's, it's very often a symptom with Aspberger's.
>>Mahim: I saw a question from you in the front.
>>Shibani: Yes.
[audience question inaudible]
>>Mahim: So the question is where is Banville and is it on Google Maps?
>>Shibani: [laughs] Yeah, yes actually, I had been to Danville and not that, you know,
so here's the thing. Danville, the town in the film, actually is not so representative
of an actual city, and, "Oh, this is what transpires in this city and this is how these
people are," but more a represen-, it's more representative of any small, suburban, homogenous
town. And that's what's really important, you know? So, the fact that the, that, the
town of Danville, which I actually quite enjoyed, was sort of stuck with me and I had a friend
from there who talked about in her instance, being gay, and not, and not being very accepted
in, in growing up. But, it's kind of stayed with me and sort of, it sort of it flowed
into something else. But it's really more about homogenous town and, and a close knit,
small community and a reaction to something, to something sort of painful in their lives,
so.
>>Mahim: So the question is once you have a story, how does it actually transition then
on to the final product and how are characters involved in all of that?
>>Shibani: Wow, I wish I could say I cast this film, I'm just like, pick up the phone
and say, "Hey, Shah Rukh, hey Karan, you wanna do this film?" No, that was not my department,
that was very much Karan and I'm glad that both of them were, were on board.
But, the advantage of actually knowing who your actors are going to be is that you can
play to their strengths and you can also work around some of the things that, that perhaps
are expected of them and you want to sort of break expectations. So, in this case, I
mean the fact that, that Shah Rukh has been so amazingly popular as a romantic hero, the
way he looks at the heroine, the way he looks in her eyes, these are state trademarks.
I mean, he should get, he can get a patent on those, right? I mean, amazing, you know
people love him for that. He's wonderful at doing it, but it would not have worked as
well for Rizwan because if we started seeing too much of Shahrukh in Rizwan, then the believability
of, of his, of his Asperger's and the process that he follows, would perhaps have become
a little less. So, so I, I, because I knew it was going to be Shah Rukh, I sort of, the
enhancing of the not being able to look in the eye, him not being able to cry because
Shah Rukh's wonderful tears are also worth patenting and but it would have again been
Shah Rukh Khan.
So, there are people with Asperger's who can cry, you know, it's Rizwan who can't, but
the moment you take that away, then not only does it give him opportunities as an actor
to go into places that he doesn't usually have the opportunity to, but it also, as an
audience, takes away the markers that you're, that we started looking for in a Shah Rukh
Khan film. So, there was, there was great opportunity in that and that being said, just
seeing the man Rizwan be Shahrukh Kahn on screen was lovely because they bring such
an amazing energy and, and talent to, to making these characters believable.
>>Mahim: Ok, I think I saw a question back there.
So the question was where can you go to see the lovely view where Mandira proposes to
Rizwan?
>>Shibani: Actually, that, that spot is Corona Heights. The view may not be exactly like
that and the fog is not that, it doesn't comply quite as readily, but yeah, it has that sort
of a spectacle to it on the right day. It will just give you that kind of feeling. So,
but yeah, if you climb up there on the top of Corona Heights, you can get a pretty spectacular
view.
>>Mahim: Great. And so I think a question is back there in the very back.
So, the question is why the Bay Area for the film?
>>Shibani: So I could get a chance to come back to San Francisco, which I try to do every
given opportunity.
[laughter]
No, actually, what to me really would appeal about San Francisco in particular, is the
fact that Mandira and Rizwan have a, a very quirky romance. I mean, it's not every day
that you see, see, sort of a woman having a romantic relationship with somebody who,
you know, she's not quite ready for and who's significantly different. So, their, the flow
of their romance was had that sort of quirky, unpredictable quality which I felt the city
really enhanced because it allows that sort of "Hey, anything can happen here" sort of
feel to it. So, I'm, that's why San Francisco, besides, of course, my love for it.
>>Mahim: Great. I think there's a question in the cap.
So the question is how did you get started as a writer and do you want to venture into
Hollywood?
>>Shibani: I think I was, I was always a writer in denial. I always loved reading and was
very good at English composition growing up. But, I didn't quite maybe have faith in myself
enough to say, "Wow, can I actually write, you know?" But, when I was working as a, as
an executive in, at Sony Television in India, I was working with a lot of in, my job involved
working with a lot of writers because it was part of development, content development.
And I think that's when I discovered the frustrated writer in me because I was always expecting
them to do things the way I wanted, the way I saw them. You know, and then I said, "Oh,
that's so not fair because you just want to write this, right?" I mean, it's not about
whether what they're doing is really great or not. So I decided not to do that and not
be an ogre and started writing myself on weekends and that's how the first script came about.
That was, that script never got made so for anybody who's wanting to write either in the
audience here or elsewhere, just an attachment to note, that you always have a great attachment
to the first thing you ever write, but you should start writing it knowing that nothing
may ever happen to it; happen off it, you know? Because, in retrospect, I think it was
a beauti-, a fantastic beginning. I couldn't have asked for anything better, but it wasn't
the first thing I ever wrote. So, that often happens and you have to sort of go with the
flow as far as that's concerned. And, I forgot the second part of your, his question, sorry.
>>Mahim: Oh, Hollywood, are you interested in making films for Hollywood?
>>Shibani: Oh, in Hollywood. Yeah, I'm certainly interested in, in writing in the English language.
It is my first language. Now, whether that would be a Hollywood production per se, or
just an international production, or an Indie film, I don't know. I mean, probably the latter,
you know? But I, because I've lived in the U.S. for as long as I have, because my thinking
mind and my, my processes are so geared towards the English language that, I think that I
would be remiss if I didn't attempt at least to express that.
>>Mahim: Maybe it can be about Google.
>>Shibani: Maybe it can be about Google.
[laughter]
>>Mahim: Great. Yes, you right there.
So, the first question was since this was more internationally distributed, did you
have a different audience in mind when you wrote it and were creating it? And the second
question is do you have any more projects with Karan Johar in the future?
>>Shibani: Yes, actually, I did have a different audience in mind, I mean, it was always going
to be a Hindi film so your core audience is always going to be people that, that understand
the language and are familiar with the culture and with the, with the actors.
I mean, that is always where you begin. But, it was certainly, it was certainly something
that because the scope of the story is so contemporary and yet so universal, we always
hoped that it will be something that will touch people regardless of culture and country,
and more on a basis of being part of the human race.
Fortunately it, it, we've been very successful in that and have had some wonderful emails
and, and contacts from people from, from many different parts of the world, like Egypt and
Syria and Indonesia and so, and Germany, and it's just been, it's been really gratifying.
As far as projects in the future, I, Karan has to only sort of pick up the phone and
say, "I'm doing, I don't know, a Space Invaders 3," and I'll be like, "Ok, when? When do we
start?" He's, he's very special to me and has been greatly instrumental in, in what,
in doing work that I can believe in, so when, so whenever he decides that it's something
he wants to do with me, I'm more than happy to do it.
>>Mahim: Great. Yes, right there.
So the question is what was it like filming in San Francisco? A lot of the scenes in the
movie have large crowds versus in New York and India and other places.
>>Shibani: I don't know about the crowd's portion of it, but I had a wonderful experience
shooting in San Francisco because my job was done; everyone else was working. But, and
it's always great to be in San Francisco, but more than that, I think that the people
and the city were just, are always very welcoming. I mean, there's a very easy, relaxed sort
of set up in shooting in San Francisco. Because there aren't great, huge crowds and lots of
cars and, so just blocking off a portion or whatever, is not as much of a task as it can
be in New York or in Bombay, you know? So, and then the people are nice. I mean, I don't
know, it's, it's gotta do with, with that cold air that comes off the Bay, I suppose.
I, the people are just nice, so it just made, it made the process for us very, very smooth
and just very, very fruitful.
>>Mahim: I think we have time for two more questions. So, you in the front.
So, like most Bollywood films, there are lots of dance sequences, so why not in this film?
>>Shibani: God, imagine if Rizwan in the middle of all of this had to break out into a break-dance,
my God! How would that be? So, yes, it was a conscious decision because there was a,
you know it was important for it, for the topic that we addressed is, is a, more than
a serious issue, it's more, it's an emotional issue and it's a sensitive issue for a lot
of people.
So, we didn't want to sort of trivialize it in any way or create a situation where it
just becomes unbelievable and laughable in any way because that was just, that would
just be terrible. So, so, yes, it was a, it was a conscious, it was a conscious decision.
Because the idea really behind this film is you know, you have one billion Muslims in
the world, of which, and I'm being, this is a generous number, maybe five million, maybe,
maybe, and I'm, this is a very, very generous number, may be involved in say, subversive
activities or, or, and there's 995 million people at the very least that don't get a,
that don't get any representation, or a voice in mainstream cinema, either in the East or
in the West.
And this was our, this was our motive behind the story and getting it out there so we just
didn't want to actually take on anything that would, any, take away from this or trivialize
it in any way. So, hence the only mini dance at the wedding where it would, he would dance.
>>Mahim: Ok, last question. Ok, so, you in the back.
So, the question was why did Reese not go to the authorities straight away or call 911
when Sam was first injured and then ultimately killed?
>>Shibani: I think this has got, it has much more to do with a psychological thing than
it has to do with a logical thing because Reese is actually going through some, some
sort of, a post-traumatic stress in a sense because his father's died, so his reaction
to Sam in any case is not normal.
It's not what he would normally react to. That compounded with having lost, actually
lost a parent and being confronted by older boys and under the peer pressure of "if you
tell, you had it from us," and your family could be threatened; he has one mother. So,
on Reese, it's really a combination of those things plus guilt. The fact that on somewhere,
on some level he feels that he's brought this on Sam, if he had not confronted him or if
he had not talked, sort of said that he was not talking to him, the boys would not have
intervened and this would not have happened.
So, it's a, it's from Reese's perspective it's much more of a psychological thing of
fear and guilt and the traumatic stress of having lost a parent. So, although logically
and practically, he can pick up the phone, but in the mental and emotional state that
he is, he can't. So, that's really the basis of where that comes from.
>>Mahim: Great. Thank you. And with that, we'll end. We'd like to thank Shibani, once
again, for spending the evening with us.
[applause]
>>Shibani: Thank you and thank you everyone for coming to the film. For everybody that
did enjoy it and I know that Googlers have, have their tentacles all over the world, please
tell friends and, and well wishers to actually find it and watch it because we feel it's
the story and a message that if it can go out to as many people as possible, the better
we'll be, so thank you.
>>Mahim: Thanks.
[applause]