shares Imtiaz Ali, as one of his secret formulas of film making.
A director always wishes a houseful for all the shows of his every film! But the ‘Rockstar’ director, who wanted to be a journalist in his early days, was equally happy to see a Houseful of film enthusiasts during a recently held film festival in Mumbai city who came to interact, listen and get inspired by him. “Please fill the theaters in the same manner when ‘Tamasha’ is released next month!” was his way of greeting and making the audience comfortable.
His day activity involved editing Tamasha”, convincing his teammates who were tired of working; by saying his favourite Jumla (sentence) “ Tu toh mera bhai hai ! Tere bina meri picture kaise banti yaar “and like any other Mumbaikars, getting stuck in traffic.
Following are the Excerpts from Director Imtiaz Ali`s talk at recently concluded Film Festival in Mumbai.
Here it is what he spoke:
Q: So what is ‘Tamasha’ all about?
IA: Oh my god! I wish to answer in such a manner that everyone present here comes to watch it…But jokes apart; “Tamasha” is your own story’s tamasha which you see in the world. Every Kahaani (story) has a starting, middle and end. but tamsha conveys that you can change the end of “your” life`s story if you decide to take the rope in your hand. In Tamasha, both Tara and Ved want one thing: the real person behind Ved.
Q: Like your other films, “Tamasha” also has travelling and a journey. What is the reason behind setting this theme?
IA: When you are travelling, other people don’t know you. So you can be just “yourself”, fresh like a bud. “Tamasha” also captures the journey of two such Indians (Ranbir and Deepika) who travel to a different country all together and no-one knows them and there they reveal their inner self. But what happens when you fall in love with your inner self and realize that your outer self is completely different from that? And beyond a point, you can`t stay like your inner self all your life?
Q: We have heard that various instances in most of your films are from your real life. Is that true?
IA: I generally try not to attach any real life incidents in my films. For me, nothing from my life should be part of my films. ButIt guess it just happens naturally when I am directing or writing a story. And later, after watching the film I realize ‘Oh! This actually happened to me as well’. This is sometimes applicable to all of us. You watch something 10 years down the life or read you own diary and suddenly think, did I really do this? Even my friends say after watching my films that you had done the same thing when you were in Delhi with us and now you have adapted in the film, in Dilliwala language “Chep Diya”. (With a chuckle) Instead of giving credit to my writing, they say that my films are because of their stories!
Q: From Jamshedpur to Delhi to Mumbai, from theater to television to movies. Your debut film as a director came rather late. How did you managed to have so much patience?
IA: Your interest keeps you grounded to it. Its like if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night and asks “Do you want to direct a film?” and if your answer is ”yes, of course”, then that’s what keeps you up. After that, it’s your talent that keeps you live, and waiting. Small town people like me don’t think of becoming a big director when they come to Mumbai. We just know that we want to do something in this field (in my case direction) so I did theater and television before films and also because there were not many options. I did Television for money and appreciation, but somehow just never felt that I belonged to it. People used to tell me “You directed the TV show like a film!” Somehow my imagination and story thinking used to be in format of 2-3 hours (like films) and not like 25-30 minutes (per episode). So I felt incomplete in TV, and then later came Sunny Deol`s Film (Socha Na Tha, which was produced by Sunny Deol). But I always took whatever came on my way and still do so.
Q: Rajkumar Hirani, Zoya Akhtar, Vikal Bahl etc, We believe, you all show each other your films` first cut and share stories beforehand and discuss it without any sense of competition. How True?
IA: Absolutely true! We do screenings of the first cut of our films and take feedbacks and suggestions. The reason being, we are like minded directors and sometimes someone else`s perspective can make a film better. With each other`s reviews and feedback, we aim to cater a better version of the film to the audience so that none of us regret later that this part of the film could have been improved or shown in other manner. Hence, healthy discussions at the initial stage of a film helps us all.
Q: Will you ever remake a film?
IA: No… Never! “A film is permanent” is an old saying. Having said that; if it is there, let it be there. Why to touch it again when it has been made and gone.
Post this; the session was left open for audience to ask their inquisitive questions.
Q: Why do brides always run away in your films?
IA: (laughs) Well, in my personal life, I never had an opportunity to make a bride runaway. It is said that “What you can’t do in real life, you do in cinema to live your fantasy”.
Q: How do you select the subjects for your films and how did dialogue writing come to you?
IA: There are always stories going on in my mind. Right now also there are four stories in my mind, its involuntarily going on. I don’t know which one I will make out of the four. I believe stories and subjects are always in you, within you…you don’t have to search for them. I can always see patterns, templates’ and stories around me. Also, the funny part is, I use to write for my films because I didn’t have money to pay writers. And once I started writing, it became my habit.
Something similar happened during ”Jab We Met”. The dialogues were written in 21 days. There was no time or enough money in our hand so I became the dialogue writer too. We had to lock the locations, costumes and everything else in these 21 days so there was hardly any time to assign a dialogue writer and sit with him. In my opinion, dialogues should be written to balance. It should be naturally written as per the characters. It shouldn’t be a medium of propaganda. After so many years, both script and dialogue writing comes naturally to me now.
Q: Tell us about the journey of your film ”Rockstar”.
IA: (With a long pause) Certain attitude and feelings are dear to you and personal. You feel certain feelings of yours angst you and you don’t why it happens or why is it so. Like for some people, who feel sad on certain happy occasions. It’s the same in my case… I don’t feel guilty when I should be. This happens because there is a higher truth which I am not aware of. Jordan is exactly the same person with these feelings. His feelings don’t work with his cerebral. Also, while writing ”Rockstar”, I had ‘Heer-Ranjha’ in my mind. If you see deeply, my film resonates Heer-Ranjha. Likewise, the idea of a heart broken artist was always there in my mind since my college days. When I was studying in Delhi, I met a guy who told me that he wants to go through heartbreak to become an artist. So that point stuck me and it remained there in my mind since then. I had put the script on paper long time back. It was suppose to be my second film after ”Socha Na Tha”, but it didn’t go on production floor for 5 long years and then I had to re-write all over again.
With a round of applause and sea of people waiting to get photographs clicked, Imtiaz said “Do not forget to watch Tamasha” and mail your remaining questions on Tamasha@gmail.com” and left the venue in a hush smilingly.
It’s not very often you see a celebrated man in so much simplicity!