Director Siddharth Anand recently spoke to Anupama Chopra on Directors’ Cut by Film Companion about the making of ‘Pathaan’ (2023), directing Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan in that iconic post credit scene and designing the whistles and claps moment in the film.
Siddharth Anand explained on how he designed the high points of the film, “ ‘Pathaan’ was the first film I designed for the seetis and the claps. My earlier films are a lot more subtle. For instance you will not remember any dialogues from a ‘War’ (2019) for instance. But here everything came together to make it a front footed, commercial mass entertainer. When Shah Rukh comes out of the shadows and says ‘zinda hai’ (he’s alive), we were clapping on set itself.”
When asked about the mid-credit scene with the two Khans, the director had this to say, “That prophesy turned out true. They said ‘hume hi karna padega’ (we only have to do this) and they only did it. We knew that we wanted Salman Khan’s Tiger to come into the film so we could make the crossover. Logically if a director knew this was happening in his film, he would stage it in the climax at the end of the film. But I was dead sure I didn’t want that. I knew I wanted the hero to get his own space at the end of the film and to feel he has done it himself.”
Did you know Dimple Kapadia was not initially a part of ‘Pathaan’? This is what Siddharth Anand shared that, “That role wasn’t actually written for Dimple Kapadia – it was written for Kumud Mishra. But a night before I was going to speak to Kumud Mishra, I happened to watch ‘Tenet’ (2020). Dimple was so fantastic in the film. So we changed the gender of the character because I felt she would add a sense of warmth to Shah Rukh because his equation with women is just fantastic. I’m so glad it worked out and she was able to take on the role.”
With regards to the many conspiracy theories and spin-off ideas, Siddharth further shared, “I would love to make a spin off of Katrina Kaif’s character Zoya and Deepika Padukone’s Rubina, the two Pakistani agents should be in my next film. But honestly, the next few years are going to be so exciting. There are so many possibilities we can explore. We can maybe create a younger agent and do a crossover there.”