Imtiaz Ali wanted Highway to be his debut directorial venture. But, of course, that didn’t happen. However, the script stayed with him for 15 years. Now, as he readies to release his Alia Bhatt-Randeep Hooda-starrer, Imtiaz talks about Ranbir Kapoor, Alia and his next film starring Ranbir and Deepika Padukone.
For how long have you been working on Highway?
Highway’s script has been with me for a long time. During a gap between two of my projects, Ranbir pushed me to make it because he knew how close the script is to me. He was like, ‘Sir, ban jayegi, aapko pata bhi nahi chalega.’ (Sir, it will be ready and you won’t even realise it).
Also, did he recommend Alia’s name to you?
Ranbir insisted that I should meet Alia once — not for any particular project but generally. And, since I trust his vision of cinema, I listened to him.
What made Alia fit the role?
I remember seeing Alia for the first time as a small child. The second meeting happened when she had grown up and I was really impressed with her work in Student Of The Year (2012). For me, Alia has the right emotional quotient. Plus, like her character, she also comes from an affluent background. So, that factor also worked in her favour.
Did you think of casting Ranbir in the film?
It could have been Ranbir, but he was busy with other commitments. At one point, we thought of going ahead with newcomers. But, since Randeep comes from the same milieu, I think he has a natural understanding of the setting.
Are you presently working on any other project?
Window Seat is the tentative title of my next film. We haven’t decided on anything else. Once Highway releases, I will start working on it.