Cinema

A story ruled by destiny

Imtiaz Ali. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Imtiaz Ali. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Imtiaz Ali is enjoying moments of nothingness after the whirlwind promo tours for Rockstar . “I haven't planned my next film,” he says. Rockstar , he had stated earlier, was a film that decided on its own when it wanted to get made, how and with whom. Explaining his statement in context, he says, “I wrote Rockstar after Socha Na Tha . I had found a producer and an actor, but the film didn't progress. I had to shelve it.” Imtiaz moved on to make Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal .

Four years after he had written Rockstar , he happened to meet Ranbir Kapoor. “Ranbir had heard of this story and enquired about it. He said he wanted to act in it. The making of Rockstar was ruled by destiny,” smiles Imtiaz.

Heer and Ranjha to Rumi

Imtiaz's script offers more than just the story of the protagonist Jannardhan or Jordan. Scratch beneath the surface and plenty of references such as Heer and Ranjha, Rumi and Czech folklore crop up. “Initially, the characters of Heer and Jordan follow the pattern of Heer and Ranjha. Through it's not an adaptation of their love story, there is a take off on it. I didn't want to shy away from this fact and called the heroine's character Heer,” he explains.

Rumi's poetry, on the other hand, came into picture much later. “One day, when I was trying to find the right words for a song, an SMS from Dolly Ahluwalia (who worked on the costumes) quoted Rumi's lines: Sometimes you hear a voice through the door calling you, as fish out of water hears the sound of the waves or a hunting falcon hears the drums.. come back, come back . This lent itself to Nadaan Parindey Ghar Aaja . Likewise, Rumi's lines ‘ Lift your foot and cross over. Move into emptiness ' was the inspiration for the lines Kadam badha le, haddon ko mita le, aaja khaalipan mein i n Kun Faaya Kun ,” explains Imtiaz.

As a tribute to Rumi, Imtiaz decided to open and end the film with another translation of Rumi's lines echoed in Ranbir's voice: Yahaan se bahut door, ghalat aur sahi ke paar, ek maidan hai. Main wahaan milunga tujhe .

“There are hundreds of references to poetry and folklore throughout the film. The Hawaa Hawaa song is inspired by a Czech folklore. I felt it was apt for the phase that Heer and Jordan were going through in Prague,” says Imtiaz.

As a film, Rockstar has firmly established Ranbir Kapoor as an actor of mettle. Nargis Fakhri, though, has met with mixed response. Imtiaz defends Nargis and says, “When a new force comes in, it may not be what we are used to. She didn't try to ‘fit into' Bollywood. I know that when she emotes, her face contorts in a certain way. Her mannerisms are different since she hails from the US and was trying to speak in Hindi.”

In hindsight, would Imtiaz consider trimming the length of the film? “I don't feel the need to. I've been getting varied response, with some people liking the first half and others the latter half. Some have liked it better when they watched it the second time. That's a sign that the film has shelf life. I am happy that people like different things in the film,” he says.

Ask him if he is trying to change the grammar of commercial cinema and he says, “I don't know about grammar. I just feel there is no need to fake your narration just to fit into the commercial formula.”

Next, he will be the creative producer for his wife Preety Ali's film, which will be an adaptation of the Korean film My Girlfriend is an Agent . “My wife is producing it along with UTV. Bosco will debut as the director. I am lending support like the passing cloud,” he smiles.


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 9:22:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/a-story-ruled-by-destiny/article2626861.ece