Imtiaz Ali has decided not to have a high-on-glam premiere for his film Rockstar that releases next Friday. “The previous night, the cast and crew will watch the movie with family and friends,” says the director from Dubai.
On Thursday, Imtiaz along with his lead actors, Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri, and producer Hiren Gandhi visited the University of Wollongong in Dubai, where Ranbir was greeted like he was a real rockstar. “Many youngsters knew the lyrics of our songs and one guy played Sadda haq… on his electric guitar,” says Imtiaz.
Having wowed Mumbai with his first concert last Monday, didn’t Ranbir strum his guitar too? “You need permission for a performance abroad. We wanted to host a promotional concert in London too and had applied for work permit, but since our priority was finishing the movie in time, we couldn’t pursue it. May be after the release we’ll go back. Yes, Ranbir did strum some chords on Sadda haq… and Nadaan parinda..” he says.
The quartet has now set off to London, where they will distribute tickets to fans and meet the winners of local Rockstar contests. Meanwhile, AR Rahman has been tweeting about a concert in Dubai on December 9 at which he’ll undoubtedly play some of the Rockstar chartbusters.
Some urgent post-production work had kept Imtiaz away from the Mumbai concert but he’s heard enough raves about his lead actor since. “I’ve been told that Ranbir was completely in character and he wasn’t just acting. He even played the guitar with Rahman’s band,” says Imtiaz, who had seen the rockstar in Ranbir even as he narrated the story to him. “There were traces of the Jat boy Janardan Jakar in him and I could also see him as Jordan, who stands on a stage in front of thousands and looks right through them as plays his music.”
Imtiaz says that the reasons for Rockstar’s multi-city tour is to know their audiences better. He adds that face-to-face interactions with multi-ethnic audiences has been an eye-opener. “I learnt in Dubai that on Wednesday, the Pashto channel that airs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and North-Western frontier province screened Jab We Met, in the local language. There’s a growing populace for our cinema in countries like Libya and Jordan. And Dubai is the best place to connect with them, in the way that London’s a gateway to markets in Europe,” he explains.
Was the date, November 11, 2011, important? “It’s an interesting date and since our film was ready for release then, why not?” he quips. Another film, an epic Hollywood period fantasy, Immortals, starring Freida Pinto also opens on the same day. Imtiaz is unperturbed: “It’s not a boxing match. There’s always space for two good movies to do well or two bad movies to flop.”