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Rockstar has lot of anger: Imtiaz Ali

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Imtiaz Ali may be hailed as a part of the new breed of filmmakers in Bollywood but the director likes to be known as a man of common taste who does not want to make off-beat films for a limited audience.
“I don’t want to make movies for a limited audience. When I am taking money from somebody else and making a movie I need to recover cost. I automatically think on those lines while directing a film because I am a man of common taste,” said Ali on the sidelines of the Osian’s film festival here.
The 38-year-old director does not want to be in the league of “different” filmmakers.
“I do not want to prove that I am a different director or that I want to re-invent myself with my movies, I just want to tell those stories which I think I can show the best. I am a victim of my own limitations,” said Ali, who has become one of the most sought after directors in Bollywood post the success of ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’.
The film, despite its girl-meets-boy theme, struck a chord with the audience because of Ali’s innovative story-telling method.
“Bollywood is in that phase now when people are bored of formula films, so we directors are under no compulsion to make a certain kind of movie. We can make them the way we want to. We are happy to be directing films at this point of time,” said Ali.
Ali has no qualms about admitting the flaws in his movies and criticising them openly once they have released.
“Before the films release we tend to say things to the media to sell the film. I try to lie as little as possible.
But once the movie is released I can talk about it openly because I know what my faults have been in the films. None of my movies have been perfect, after a while I do see defects in them and wish that I could correct them,” Ali said.
His first three films have revolved around the subject of love, but Ali insists that there is no deliberate reason why he chooses to explore this topic repeatedly, be it in his first film ‘Socha Na Tha’ or his latest ‘Love Aaj Kal’.
“I want to discover it because maybe I am not aware of what it is. The confusion regarding ‘love’ probably led to its exploration in the movies, but there is no deliberate reason why is it a topic in my films,” said Ali.
The director denies being a romantic himself and says that it would be wrong to call his films ‘romantic’.
“I don’t think my films are romantic. How romantic is it when Geet chooses Aditya in ‘Jab We Met’ thinking that he is better than her other boyfriend at the end of the movie? I tend to be pretty hard-hearted and unromantic in life myself.
Only the journey motif in the films is a reflection of my personality,” said Ali.
But Ali, who has not decided what is next film is going to be about, does not intend to move away from love stories anytime soon, saying that all his films are going to be oriented around man-woman relationships.
“All the stories that I have with me now involve a man-woman relationship. There is a story in which the guy is a secret- service agent but even there he goes through a relation with a woman,” said Ali.
Ali is inspired by Indian filmmakers like Bimal Roy and Shyam Benegal, but does not like watching Hollywood movies these days.
“I have been inspired by Roy’s ‘Sujata’, ‘Madhumati’, ‘Do Bigha Zameen’, and some of Shyam Benegal’s movies. Sholay and ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’ also impress me a lot. But I don’t like watching Hollywood films anymore because it seems like going to shop in a shopping mall and I am not a movie buff,” he said.

News4u-Entertainment DeskHis stories happen in a world where there is no evil but in his latest film Rockstar, director Imtiaz Ali has taken a detour to explore the “vulnerability and anger” that come with love.


The director, who has given lovable, relatable characters like Viren-Aditi (Socha Na Tha), Geet-Aditya 
(Jab We Met) and Jai-Meera (Love Aaj Kal), is himself surprised by the anger in Rockstar, which stars Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakri.


“I have also asked this question to myself. It is an angry film but the anger does not come from me. It is not autobiographical in that sense, it must have come from my environment. It was an emotional and cathartic experience,” Imtiaz told PTI in an interview.

Another thing that is very unique to Imtiaz’s direction is that his characters are mostly in transit and the director, who has a fascination for travelling to remote corners, says the physical journey in his films are indicative of the journey within.

“The physical journey in my films is indicative of the internal journey that my characters take. Rockstar is again about Jordan’s journey from being a gawky Hindu College student to becoming the rockstar. Coming from a small town, he later goes from place to place. From the mundane, the regular, he discovers what is spiritual and uplifting.”

Imtiaz, 40, first tried to make the film in 2005 with John Abraham but when he picked up the story again, everything had changed and he wanted a younger lead. The director says he found his perfect rockstar in Ranbir. 

“He (Ranbir) is very receptive. I was thrilled to notice the emotional depth that he brought to this character. Ranbir was always the first choice because, he has this emotional vulnerability. He brought new nuances to the role. Praising him feels like I am praising myself,” said Imtiaz.

The film’s music, especially songs like Sadda Haq, Kun Faya Kun and Tum Ho, are being hailed as A R Rahman’s finest compositions since Delhi 6 but Imtiaz feels that the Oscar-winning musician’s full potential is yet to be realised.

“He was the most approachable and easy to work with colleagues. Rahman has amazing range and I feel that his true potential is only half exposed.”

Relationships and marriages are quite pivotal in Imtiaz’s plots and the director says the confusion of his characters stems from his own experience.

“There is lot of emphasis on marriage in our culture. I myself got married at a very young age. It has always intrigued me because marriage is very synthetic in an otherwise natural world,” said the director.

Another thing that he is not ready to part with in his cinema is the middle class world that he comes from, which often forms the backdrop of his movies.

“I come from a middle class background. I have travelled a lot by trains and have lived in the world. It is a world I cannot get away from, I would not even want to.”

Imtiaz Ali

Imtiaz Ali

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Imtiaz Ali’s Ranbir-starrer ‘Rockstar’ to start shoot in May

News4u-Entertainment Desk-Director Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’ starring current heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor will go on floors in May this year and is scheduled for a December release.

The film has been in news due to speculations over who will be cast opposite Ranbir but, Imtiaz says that he is yet to finalise the female lead.

Eros International will co-produce the film with Shri Ashtavinayak Cinevision.

“Eros and Imtiaz Ali have had a fabulous and successful working relationship in the past and we are proud to take our association to the next level with Rockstar in association with Shri Ashtavinayak,” Sunil Lulla, Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director, India-Eros International said.

He said Eros’s first film with Ranbir ‘Anjana Anjanee’ also starring Priyanka Chopra releases this July and the company had an exciting working relationship with him.

Imtiaz said his earlier movies ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’ were both musical romantic entertainers and ‘Rockstar’ completes the trilogy.

Director Imtiaz Ali

Director Imtiaz Ali

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Rishi Kapoor hints at Ranbir starring in Imtiaz Ali’s next

News4u-Entertainment Desk-If things move as per the plans, Ranbir Kapoor would soon find himself working with ace filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, who has just delivered a big money spinner in the form of ‘Love Aaj Kal’. Confirmation comes from Rishi Kapoor himself who is positive that the two youngsters would soon be collaborating on a project.

“I am positive that in 2010, Imtiaz and Ranbir would be beginning a film together. They have been meeting on a regular basis and are just looking at finalizing on something concrete before they make a formal announcement”, says Rishi Kapoor who was recently seen in Love Aaj Kal.

Prod him further on the genre, subject, leading lady and the production house and Rishi Kapoor denies being in the know-how of affairs.

“I never get involved in the creative aspects of Ranbir’s films. He takes all his decisions himself. All I know is that Ranbir working with Imtiaz would be a great decision since I have now witnessed Imtiaz’s sensibilities on a first hand basis after working with him”, Rishi Kapoor says.

Playing the role of Veer Singh in Love Aaj Kal, Rishi Kapoor got quite some appreciation coming his way for his Sikh portrayal.

“While working on the film, I realized that this boy is so cultured, sensible and simple”, he gushes about the three film old director, “There is a saying that one’s character gets reflected in his work. It was there for everyone to see in Love Aaj Kal which was so honest and sincere, just like Imtiaz.

Coming back to Ranbir and Imtiaz association, it would be interesting to see how things materialise in weeks to come. For Ranbir it would be yet another addition of an accomplished filmmaker in his repertoire. During last two years he has worked with veterans like Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Saawariya), Raj Kumar Santoshi (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahanis) and Prakash Jha (Rajneeti).

Also, he has been a favourite amongst the young blood, as evidenced in his association with Siddharth Anand (Bachna Ae Haseeno), Shimit Amin (Rocket Singh - Salesman Of The Year) and Ayan Mukerji (Wake Up Sid).

On the other hand, Imtiaz Ali is taking his own time to announce his next project. In the recent past, he has already curbed rumours around reviving Rockstar (which was earlier supposed to star John Abraham). There have also been murmurs around him working with Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor in his next project but he has denied reports. Naturally, he is cautious before committing on Ranbir and him coming together on the project.

“Honestly speaking, nothing has been finalised yet”, says Imtiaz, “Yes, Ranbir and I have been meeting each other for quite some time and have been bouncing off story ideas. Still, we are yet to close on a story line. I have always placed my story before anything else. Whether it is Love Aaj Kal, Jab We Met or Socha Na Tha, the story has always been of paramount importance.”

So is he or is he not signing Ranbir Kapoor? “I definitely want to work with him. However, I will announce my cast once the story is finalised. Making any comments before that would be immaterial and unwarranted”, he says in a guarded tone.

With Rishi Kapoor being highly positive around Ranbir-Imtiaz association, all eyes are now on Imtiaz making a formal announcement around his next film. After all Love Aaj Kal is now out on screens and it is high time that Imtiaz open his cards and breaks the suspense.



Rishi Kapoor

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Love Story–Part III

News4u-Entertainment Desk-Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali answers pertinent questions on relationship – movies, train journeys and great expectations

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali turned out in his trademark white-shirt-denim combination and his hair in a sort of organised disarray. Imtiaz is the quintessential new-age director– articulate and savvy from the story-is-king school of thought. Ali is a man of many parts, in that he has done a stint in advertising and television before he plunged into a filmmaking career. His talent as a director is evident in his first movie Socha Na Tha, which was reaffirmed with the success of Jab We Met. Now ready with his third— Love Aaj Kal starring Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, Ali, one of the most sought-after directors in Bollywood, gets talking about his new love story and more…

Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone-that’s a new and unusual combination — why did you choose them? And why the name Love Aaj Kal?
It is very difficult to predict who will work together, but Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone were individually very suitable for their roles. To me, Deepika looks like Meera and Saif like Jai, so the internal vibrations match. I don’t know Deepika very well, but she comes across as a perceptive person who reads a little more than what is made obvious to her but in a very warm way–there is a silent grace about her. Saif is brilliant, but noisy, sophisticated and multi-layered with bouts of energy.

As for the name, I liked Aaj Kal, but there is so much love that came our way everywhere we shot that it also came into the title as well.

Two notable love stories Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met, so much so that articles about you are titled Love guru–is Love Aaj Kal a premeditated attempt at completing the trilogy? And predictably, there are huge expectations from this one – are you a bundle of nerves?
I don’t have a policy. I am not a romantic movie buff. It’s just that these two stories happen to be based on relationships. I tend to get to a point where I feel that this is the story I like best and that’s it. Also, love stories can no longer be boy-meet-girl stories. They have to go beyond that–it could be the point of view of a father whose daughter is not in love with anybody.

As for expectations, I don’t have any, so I am, in that sense, really cool. This (movie) is not Jab We Met…

You write the stories for your films—how important is it for a director to be also writing his movies?
Pretty important. At any rate the director should have creative control. I don’t know how they do it in Hollywood where a different person writes the story and the writer and director are probably the last to be introduced. Writers, like actors, need to be directed.

Danny Boyle in a recent interview had said that directors in India get a lot of attention–is it true?
That’s only fair because Indian directors bear the onus of the success and failure of a film and their involvement is greater–they are looking into casting, music, story and pretty much all creative aspects.

How did the third relationship story come about and how much of your characters or circumstances are borrowed from life around you?
Remnants of what you have seen and done in your life come together, quite autonomously… chunks collide together and finally assume a form and it’s the same this time around. For instance, I have always had a recurring dream that I am going to miss my train but magically never miss it (it featured in Jab We Met).

A character may be many people rolled into one. Geet (in Jab We Met) has reflections of this girl in one of the Delhi University buses…Main apni favourite hoon–my nine-year-old daughter says that she likes everything about herself. Sometimes stories are born out of wondering what the life of a person who you perhaps met in a train would be like-her family, relationships everything… Obviously, the chances of it all coming together the way it does in the movies are remote, but that can be a starting point.

Love Aaj Kal, from what one has heard is about different approach that different generations take to love-characters representing the older generation worked at their relationship while the younger generation moves on: true or false?
Yes. That’s what it is about.

And what of your abiding love affair with the Great Indian Railways? Does it feature in Love Aaj Kal?
Yes, there’s a fleeting sequence. It is the greatest Indian experience and the most exhilarating that one can have. You get to see different costumes, sample different types of cuisine and be a part of so many lives for a few hours. I have travelled extensively by train, slept in the passage outside the loo and sometimes inside (laughs) but it’s still a wonderful experience.

There are supposed to be movies with Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor and one with Hrithik Roshan in the pipeline…
There are no plans right now.

Evidently you are among the most sought-after directors, so what has changed since you started out?
A lot more people call me now and even let me have my way because they feel I know it all which may not necessarily be true. I think it’s better to be questioned.

Farhan Akhtar’s very successful foray into acting has enthused directors about turning actors-will we see you go that way?
No. I have had my fill of acting with theatre.

Is the denim and white shirt combo complete with a mop of curls a fashion statement? Are you a closet fashion fiend?
Nothing of the kind-to me it’s all about comfort. In my movies it’s more about personal style- eg, wearing salwar with a t-shirt was commonplace among girls from Jamshedpur (where he hails from) while travelling…As for the hair-there was no time for a haircut while shooting for Jab We Met and it was looking rather untidy. So much so that crew members began to offer me money in order to tempt me into getting one and I thought I would do it when the stakes were high enough! And then it just outgrew that phase and I have kept it that way.

Movies you are looking forward to.
Kites certainly-Hrithik Roshan’s in a great space and Anurag Basu is a very exciting director. Kaminey because Vishal Bhardwaj always does something interesting and I am eager to see Shahid Kapur after Jab We Met and Three Idiots because of Rajkumar Hirani.

The big boom in the industry with the advent of corporates and the subsequent shakeout-did the industry in general and you in particular profit from it?
Money is an unbiased commodity to gauge things by and sure people have signed lucrative deals when the going was good. Unfortunately, I missed the bus – I am still living in a rented apartment. The thing with those multi-crore deals is that companies, if not satisfied with what they have in return, are going to come after you as they have to run a business.

Your take on the demographic divide of movie going audiences–the multiplex audience as opposed to the small town…And to what extent does it influence the kind of movies being made?
The composition of the film audience has changed –the money coming from the village guy is not significant enough while that from the multiplexes is, so there is a shift from the Mera Gaon Mera Desh sort of movies to those with more metropolitan themes. screen

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali

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Deepika perfect choice for ‘Love Aaj Kal’: Imtiaz

News4u-Entertainment Desk-Mumbai, Director Imitiaz Ali, who made the superhit movie ‘Jab We Met’ with Kareena Kapoor, has said that the bubbly actress did not fit the bill in his forthcoming film ‘Love Aaj Kal’ that features Deepika Padukone as the leading lady.
“Kareena is my favourite actor. But, I can’t cast her in a wrong role just for the sake of working with her. I have to be fair to her and her talent,” the filmmaker said justifying his decision not to repeat Kareena Kapoor.

“Deepika was the perfect choice for ‘Meera’, the female lead of ‘Love..’ as she has a unique sense of silence in her,” he said.

To a question on whether he was nervous before the release given the fact that ‘Jab We Met’ was a commercial success as well as critically acclaimed, Imtiaz said, “nervousness is a luxury directors can’t afford.”

Stating that he was not scared about how the film would be received, Imtiaz said, “if I don’t embarrass myself..After seeing the film on completion..Then it has to be good… doesn’t matter if it’s a commercial success or not.” On his working relationship with Saif Ali Khan who was not only his leading man, but also his producer, Imtiaz said Saif was very happy to be just an actor on the sets.

“If the synergy between an actor and director is good, it reflects positively on the overall film,” he said.

Director Imitiaz Ali

Director Imitiaz Ali

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