In his forthcoming film, London Paris New York, Ali Zafar plays Nikhil, the son of a producer who has gone abroad to study filmmaking before making his own movie. While in the Queen’s city, he meets Lalitha. Opposites attract and the two go for a stroll around London, ending up at a nightclub. There, the ‘cute’ Nikhil is approached by a ‘firang’ girl to dance at a Hen Party she and her friends are hosting for a buddy who’s getting hitched.
“I agree on the condition that I will get jiggy to one of the tracks from my daddy’s film, an item number of sorts that gives a lowdown on Bollywood moves down the decades,” says Ali, explaining the context in which ‘Ting rang…’ takes place.This song, scored by Ali, is a bhangra track that gives Ali an opportunity to do a take-off on Bollywood superstars he has grown up watching. “Shammi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Mithun Chakraborty, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan… It’s my tribute to my idols,” he asserts. “I didn’t practice the dance steps endlessly in front of the mirror, but I was a big Bollywood buff. So it was easy for me to replicate their steps, more so because they weren’t choreographed as the film is shot in real time. It was fun, I just had to go with the flow, with these tongue-in-cheek impersonations.”
Interestingly, Ali’s co-star in Mere Brother Ke Dulhan (2011), Imran Khan had done a similar take-off on the three Khans — Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh — in his film. But Ali insists that the idea didn’t come from there. “It wasn’t planned,” he says. Most of the film was shot during the day, but only this sequence took place at night. Ali rehearsed for two hours, then around 11 pm, nodded off. “I was shaken awake when the shot was ready, I’d do my bit, go back and nap till the next call,” he reminisces. So who was the most difficult to imitate? “Mithunda, it’s not easy being a Disco Dancer,” he laughs, adding, “And the most fun was Dharamji.”