Most who hear Imtiaz Ali’s name think of Jab We Met or Love Aaj Kal. Of course when I hear Imtiaz Ali’s name I think of his first, Socha Na Tha, his diverse set of films, and vast creative mind and insight he has on filmmaking.
He inspires, he is a beautiful storyteller, and has great chemistry with his actors and team.
He has a consistency in all his film and that is ‘journey’. No matter what the films story is, he always takes his audience on a scenic ride through different parts of India. He doesn’t feel the need to always glam a scene up because he has such beautiful landscapes and captures India in the most beautiful way ever.
I became a fan of Imtiaz’s work much after the Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal period. After these films it was Rockstar that made me see a side of cinema I never thought I’d imagine to see from the Indian film industry, but I did and I have enjoyed it since.
Rockstar is not your typical conventional film. Its a love-story with pain, art, and the unknown feelings. And he chose Ranbir Kapoor as the lead actor who displayed a very non-conventional hero character in this film. He found Nargis Fakhri who is gorgeous and I still think is her best performance yet.
From Rockstar he created my all time favorite Highway. If I am not mistaken Highway is a story he has carried with him for a while, but it never got made. It in fact is one of the first stories he developed as a filmmaker, and years down the line he made it come to life in 2011.
I am so happy to be part of the film-generation where a film like Highway exists. Again he found Veera in glamorous Alia Bhatt and truly turned her into someone totally different. Till this date when I watch Highway I tear up. And going back to showing beautiful parts of India, well this is a must watch film if you’re a person like me who has never seen India like this before.
Recently in 2015 he brought his Love Aaj Kal heroine, and Rockstar hero together in an exceptional beautiful story Tamasha. A film which was liked by critics and not so much by our audience. I on the other hand rave about this film too much. Tamasha is a film I am somehow able to relate to on many levels. Be it in a creative sense or personally. If you want to read more about my thoughts on Tamasha this is great article I wrote awhile back on the film: Tamsha Phd Recap.
Imtiaz Ali is a filmmaker who I thrive to work with one day. His take on cinema is so different from your ‘typical Bollywood film’ yet he still adds an entertainment-semi-commerical factor to his films. Yes, not all enjoy his films, nor do a lot understand his most recent films, but that’s the art of creating and storytelling. Being able to tell an unknown story the world may or may not understand. And I think this is what I have learnt from the many interviews I have watched of his and by just watching his films alone too.
Imtiaz has also ventured into short films under his production banner, Window Seat Films. He released his first short India Tomorrow about two months ago. The five-and-half minute film literally gives off a simple-practical message to our country.
Happy Birthday Imtiaz Ali from the entire Urban Asian team! We can’t see what more you have coming up!