A year ago, he started auditioning for a pair that could play Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor’s parts of Aditya and Geet, in Love You Zindagi, a spin-off of his popular film, Jab We Met (2007).
After 780 actors, director and now TV co-producer, Imtiaz Ali went back to Pavitra Puniya, the actor whom he first auditioned to play the lead in the show that flagged off last Saturday.
"As a team of creative people, we thought Pavitra was the best to play Bebo’s part. We auditioned countless actors because the part is close to my heart," asserts Ali, who wouldn’t like to call the show a remake of the rom-com. "It’s not a sequel either. Jab We Met, like any other film had limitations in terms of time, storyline and length. We don’t have the same constraints in TV. So, you’ll see how Geet landed in Mumbai and also what she did in those nine months when she stayed away from home after Anshuman ditched her."
Ali, who had directed Imtihaan and Purushetra for Star Plus and Zee TV respectively in the beginning of his career, is only supervising this show for Star Plus. He has passed the directing job to Talat Jani. "I’m working on Rockstar right now, and I have other commitments too. Besides, I don’t think I will ever be able to direct a show. I’m a TV reject who adjusted well with movies," he says.
After completing Rockstar with Ranbir Kapoor, Ali will start shooting his own travel show that will take him to places in India aboard an express train.
“It will be a low-budget show which I will shoot on my own. It will have extensive train journeys because I’ve been brought up in a place poorly connected by airways. I have experienced many good things aboard railgaadis (trains),” informs Ali, who admits that he himself often dreamt about chasing after a train on an empty railway station till he filmed Jab We Met. “After that, I’ve never seen that dream again.”
But why have a show made four years after the hit film’s release? The director says that Star Plus and co-producer Shreya Creations, were sure that the audience would like to know more about Aditya and Geet.
“They wanted to show the same world, instances and characters. I couldn’t get all the artistes for various reasons, but that’s okay,” reasons Ali. “New artistes will bring new dimensions to the old characters.”