Changing course

Indian director Imtiaz Ali wants to try his hand at lighter films

The previous films of Imtiaz Ali, 2011’s Rockstar and 2014’s love story Tamasha, have dark undercurrents.
The previous films of Imtiaz Ali, 2011’s Rockstar and 2014’s love story Tamasha, have dark undercurrents.PHOTO: COURTESY OF IMTIAZ ALI

Indian director and screenwriter Imtiaz Ali is venturing into new territory with his next film.

The 44-year-old, whose recent films, such as 2011's Rockstar with its angsty musician and 2014's complex love story Tamasha, feature dark undercurrents, is said to be trying his hand at comedy.

"I can't say too much, but it will be much lighter than the last few films I've made," he said in a telephone interview from Mumbai, where he is based.

"After you do something for a while, you want to do fresher things," he added.

"I'm on the path of changing my course and getting into a different space from my past few films."

The director has been invited to speak about Reimagining The Future Of Entertainment today at the IImpact 2016 conference at Marina Bay Sands.

The event, held here every 18 months since 2013, is organised by the alumni of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), which has 19 campuses across India. The conference is expected to draw 1,500 participants this year.

  • BOOK IT / IIMPACT 2016

  • WHERE: Sands Ballroom, Marina Bay Sands, Level 5, 10 Bayfront Avenue

    WHEN: Today, 9am to 9pm, and tomorrow, 9am to 11pm

    ADMISSION: $1,000 (general delegates)


Something else is new about Imtiaz's upcoming work, which does not have a release date yet. He is reportedly in talks to work with megastar Shah Rukh Khan for the first time.

Again, he was cautious when asked about this, saying: "I cannot comment about that until an official announcement is made."

He has had a successful run of films with Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, who starred in Rockstar and Tamasha. Both films were box-office hits, with Rockstar grossing 1.08 billion rupees worldwide.

Kapoor, he said, is not just a good actor but also a friend. His decision to use another leading man will not affect their relationship, he maintained.

"If there's a movie, then you should always cast according to the character. An actor should also work with different directors to learn different things," he said.

"It's always fun to recombine with Ranbir later, when he and I have both had a different experience, rather than just keep doing films together."

Imtiaz is making his first trip to Singapore for the conference.

Other big names joining him on today's panel include Mr Uday Shankar, chief executive of Star TV India, and Mr Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief and a news anchor of the Indian news channels Times Now and ET Now.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is the guest of honour and keynote speaker.

Imtiaz will give a talk on the topic, Is The Script Going To Have A Happy Ending?, tomorrow.

"I've heard Singapore is the cleanest city in the world. Maybe I'll get an infection just from that," he quipped.

The father of one, who is divorced, is known to like travelling alone. He has been to "almost every country between Japan and Myanmar" in Asia.

Drawing parallels between his twin loves of travelling and film- making, he said both deal with "imagination, story-telling and exploring new emotions and relationships".

He added: "One influences the other. When I'm travelling, I get ideas that find their way into my films later."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2016, with the headline 'Changing course'. Subscribe