He looks as dashing as any leading Bollywood hunk. However, Imtiaz Ali, who has directed the blockbuster Jab We Met starring Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor, prefers staying behind the camera and calling the shots.
Ali, who is riding on the success of the movie, is bursting to give out some information. “I just got back from Dubai, where I was interviewed by Pakistan’s Geo TV.
The channel is going to air Jab We Met on Valentine’s Day. Can you imagine that?” asks a delighted Ali, who hails from Jamshedpur and comes to Kolkata quite often, as he takes in the sights outside his sister-in-law’s flat at Hindustan Park on Saturday evening.
The telecast of Jab We Met is terrific news, but the conversation invariably veers round to Shahid and Kareena, who have broken up with each other.
“They were together while shooting for Jab We Met. We were like family. When I first heard about their split I thought it was gossip or maybe the handiwork of a journalist. However, when I heard the true story, I felt hurt because both of them are my friends,” replies Imtiaz, whose next film will star Saif Ali Khan (Kareena’s present boyfriend) opposite Deepika Padukone in a relationship-based story. That’s quite a coincidence.
Ali was relaxed and enjoying every bit of the success. We told him that we had just spoken to the king of romance, Yash Chopra, before coming to meet the new generation that has a lot of love stories to tell.
“He has got accolades for the love stories he has given but there is still a lot left in that man. He has always been ahead of the times and has always had a practical approach to relationship-based stories. He is a far greater man in romantic cinema than people think him to be. There is still a lot of potential that has not been recognised,” he says.
With Valentine’s Day round the corner, we ask him about love. “Love cannot be described. I got married when I was very young. There were problems because my wife was a Hindu. I have got attracted to other women even after marriage and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Marriage binds you to a commitment but emotions are from the heart,” says the director candidly.
“Love is not a mutually exclusive quantity. It is not a crime for a married person to develop feelings for somebody else,” he says.
This brings to mind the last sequence of Jab We Met, when Kareena realises that all the while she was with the man she thought she was made for, though she was actually thinking of somebody else — Shahid, who silently went all out to give her what she wanted. “That’s where the confusion arose,” the filmmaker justifies.
That is the message the film seems to send out — listen to your heart.