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3-min read

Interview: Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali on his love stories

The director of Love Aaj Kal loves to set his themes around travel.

Anand Vaishnav |

Updated:July 30, 2009, 5:41 PM IST
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Interview: Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali on his love stories
The director of Love Aaj Kal loves to set his themes around travel.

It's almost impossible to miss his last film Jab We Met on television these days. The Shahid Kapoor-Kareena Kapoor flick has become a cult movie of sorts and continues to draw repeat audiences on DVD and satellite. But director Imtiaz Ali has moved on to Love Aaj Kal. At the launch of Love Aaj Kal's online applications we caught up with Imtiaz to find out if audiences will ever let him surpass Jab We Met. The filmmaker who loves to set his themes around travel tells us why he likes life to be unpredictable.

Buzz18: There's a divided opinion out there. Some say expectations post Jab We Met are Love Aaj Kal’s biggest strength while others call it a weakness. Where do you stand?

Imtiaz Ali: That's an interesting debate. I see this is a fresh film. For me the experience of Jab We Met is more or less erased from my mind. I haven't seen it in a while – as I saw it a number of times while making it. Later when I saw it with the audiences at various cinema halls, it was finally out of my system. So at least I wasn't affected by Jab We Met during Love Aaj Kal. Though I feel audiences too shouldn't think about past films, they will refer to your good work. And that's just how it is.

Buzz18: But what if fans still insist on comparing it to Jab We Met? For example, Ramesh Sippy never got over Sholay.

Imtiaz Ali: That's certainly possible. You will always get maximum credit for your best work. But the point is Ramesh Sippy did not know which one of his films would be Sholay. So even I don't know whether I have made my Sholay or it's yet to come. Jab We Met is far from perfect. However, I don't want to rob people of the joy, by over analysing the film. It's no longer my film. Jab We Met belongs to the people. It belongs to so many couples who did not break up after watching it.

Buzz18: How do you get Pritam to do such outstanding, original work?

Imtiaz Ali: I tell him I don't need a hit song. I am only looking for a good tune. Once that baggage is out of the way, I think we are able to do nice work.

Buzz18: Did you choose Saif Ali Khan because audiences have always accepted him as the super cool urban dude?

Imtiaz Ali: I haven't seen Hum Tum. In fact I don't see too many films. But you know Saif at the end of the day has to look like Saif. However, I know I wasn't thinking of any other film while doing my casting.

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Buzz18: Your first film Socha Na Tha has a mini fan following on DVD. What went wrong then and have you thought of reviving it – now that Abhay Deol is a star?

Imtiaz Ali: I am often tempted to ask Mr Deol to plan a re-release. But then I feel, over the years all those who had to watch Socha Na Tha have already seen it. When it released it started slow and audiences began trickling in. But unlike Jab We Met it couldn't go beyond a trickle.

Buzz18: Are you still on good terms with the Deols?

Imtiaz Ali: It's my second home. There are few places in Mumbai where I can go in the middle of the night and demand my favourite meal.

Buzz18: A lot of promising directors have lost their way to the lure of big banners. Aren’t you afraid of compromises, now that you are a established name. Even Love Aaj Kal is already a big film, unlike the first two – which relied on word of mouth.

Imtiaz Ali: I want you to convey this on record. No matter how important marketing and publicity have become, it can never replace the product. I maybe calling my movie a product but none of this matters in how popular the film will eventually be. It's just a part of the exercise. The longevity of my movie in public memory doesn't depend on publicity.

Buzz18: Are you now ready to be producer after three films?

Imtiaz Ali: I am not a US-Iran pipeline that has some direction or flow. I don't plan. I don't even know what I am going to do after Friday – so I really can't answer that question.

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