I discovered a huge volume of prejudice in NYC: Kabir Khan
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When director Kabir Khan set about making a film on the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, he wasn't prepared for what his research would throw up. "I discovered a huge volume of prejudice. At least 1,200 people from different nationalities were detained on the basis of suspicion alone," says Khan, who accompanied actors John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh, during a promotion of the film New York at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon.
New York reflects the prejudices through the lives of its three protagonists — Samir (Abraham), Maya (Kaif) and Omar (Mukesh). "They are college friends whose lives change after the attacks. The film spans the period from 1999 to 2007, and shows how the trio's interpersonal equation changes during this time," explains Khan. Samir is an athlete who is close friends with Maya, a local New Yorker, and Omar, a Delhi boy who is in the US on a scholarship. Irfan Khan plays an FBI agent. The film has already raised eyebrows for the nude detention scenes of Abraham. "That shot wasn't sensational. In fact, that scene was an emotional moment for me. I am emotionally attached to the character of Samir who is forced to grow up very fast," says Abraham, adding that he would never take off his clothes "for the sake of cheap publicity".
While Kaif says that the film shows her "in a different role, more real than before," Mukesh fell back on a real-life experience for help. "I was once detained at New York airport by customs officials. While shooting for New York, I recalled the anguish of those moments when I portrayed Omar's feelings," he says.