After scaling new box-office heights with Ek Tha Tiger, Kabir Khan is getting all set to ace yet another summit. The filmmaker has teamed up with VJs Yudhistir Urs and Maria Goretti, actress Tara D’Souza and dancer-activist Shallu Jindal to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa for a cause — to raise funds for cancer relief.
“Yudi is an old friend and the moment he told me that he was planning to put together an expedition like this for a special cause, I was very excited,” Kabir told t2, shortly before flying off to Tanzania on Sunday morning.
“I have been a very keen mountaineer and trekker in my college days back in Delhi. I have gone trekking to Ladakh and Spiti and I have always felt that it was a part of my life that defined me and shaped me. When this came along, it suited my schedule also because I have time now to do the things I really want to do before I jump into my next film. I said ‘yes’ immediately, though I am aware that it’s not going to be easy and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I reach the top,” added Kabir.
Kili Cancer will have the group scale the volcanic peak through a period of nine days and Kabir has trained hard for the expedition. “I did a lot of cross-fit training which aims at building strength and stamina. Fitness has always been an integral part of my lifestyle. Even the films I shoot are physically very demanding, given the places I travel to to make them,” said the father of two.
So what will be the toughest bit of the expedition for the man who has made documentary films in the toughest of terrains? “I have scaled parts of Mount Everest for a documentary I was working on. But there, you have to climb 10,000 ft from the base camp to the summit. Kilimanjaro is tougher because there is a distance of about 15,000 ft between the base and the summit. You start off in T-shirts because you are in the middle of the equatorial forests and by the time you reach the top, it’s Arctic-like conditions. On the last day, we have to start at midnight to be able to reach the summit at sunrise and that’s when the temperature will be -25°C.” [“Looking at Kilimanjaro from the plane...it really hits u... How big this mountain is... Tomorrow we start the long climb up...” read a tweet from Kabir on Monday].
With all his films — Kabul Express to New York to Ek Tha Tiger — drawing from his own life experiences, will Kili Cancer find its way to the big screen in a Kabir Khan film? “It’s a great setting for a film… you never know what I come back with!” signed off Kabir.