Phantom is Sajid Nadiadwala’s upcoming action thriller which revolves around global terrorism. The film is an adaptation of S. Hussain Zaidi’s recent novel (with Gabriel Khan), Mumbai Avengers. The espionage drama is based on the series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks in Mumbai which took place on November 26, 2008 ,which continued for the next four days and was led by Ten members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Ajmal Kasab one of the 10 terrorists captured alive was hanged on November 21, 2012. But many of the masterminds got away.
In Hussain’s novel, five years after the attacks, a retired army officer spearheads a covert mission with a team of daredevil agents to seek out and kill these terror masterminds, one by one, making sure that the assassinations look like natural deaths. The best-selling author has collaborated on the screenplay and the terror suspects have found their way into the fictional plot. These include David Headley and Sajid Mir.
Yes, he has turned out to be one director whose works you just can’t afford to miss. All his films till now have been accepted well by the audiences across the globe. Kabir Khan returns in less than 6 weeks after ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. ‘Phantom’ is one of the much-awaited films of 2015. The controversial plot of the film has already let many wagging tongues do the talking. However, the filmmaker is quite sure that the audience will understand the theme and give much love to this one like they have done earlier. Eager now to watch this one?
The film has been shot in Lebanon, Syria, the UK, Canada and India. Indian locations include Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab’s Malerkotla.
Kabir Khan was keen on shooting those scenes across border, but the unit felt that it wouldn’t be safe to do so. Citing everyone’s concerns, he decided to recreate actual locations in Punjab. He recreated Pakistan in Malerkotla in Punjab.
The location Malerkotla was zeroed down because of its mosque, local people, narrow lanes and overall architecture, which creates the verisimilitude of a town from Pakistan. The area was set up with posters and flags etc.
Phantom involves pivotal characters that have been named after David Headley and Sajid Mir and two others modelled on Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is an internationally designated terrorist and the chief or amir of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, which operates mainly from Pakistan and has had sanctions placed against it as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations. He is one of the masterminds responsible for 26/11 attacks in India.
Headley, the Pakistani-American LeT terrorist, is currently serving a 35-year-sentence but Sajid Mir, who allegedly was Headley’s handler, has vanished. According to intelligence provided by the Mossad, he is holed up in Muridke near Lahore.
The mastermind of the 26/11 attacks, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, is also supposed to be living in a safe house near Lahore.
Beirut Action Sequence – While shooting in Beirut, director Kabir Khan was aware that shooting in these strife-torn locations would be a sensitive matter.
There were about 400 locals dressed as rebel soldiers and a movement of about 25 trucks and jeeps for the sequence. Being a massive set-up it attracted a lot of attention. They used real guns for this entire action sequence.
Punjab sequence – This sequence had a lot of intensive car chases and crashes scenes, which does required a lot of perfection and at most care while shooting them.They had to go through a lot of permissions including the street shops as there were a lot of movement and security issues during the shot.
Canada Sequence – As the director Kabir Khan had always maintained that he prefers real locations instead of relying on CGI (computer-generated imagery) because the actual backdrop adds more depth to his story. The entire crew flew down to Canada There they did a high end real car chase sequences. It was an exciting schedule which involved cutting the edge sequence under the expert Action Director Garry who has directed a lot of movies before.
Kashmir Sequence – Phantom was shot in north Kashmir ski resort of Gulmarg and later also shot in the south Kashmir’s Pahalgam hill station. They shot a huge blast sequence in the snows and the most difficult part was of the entire schedule was it was planned in the peak of winters when the entire valley was covered under a 10ft blanket of snow all around.
If you’r an Indian
Going by the films tagline which read, “A story you wish was true’ . Phantom is Film made for the Indians by the Indians. As the film is based on a true incident which serves as a nightmare in the minds of all Indian. Phantom is a must watch as our very own Saif Ali Khan as Daniyal Khan will be seen killing the terrorist masterminds leaving everyone wishing for the story to have been true!