A combination of critical acclaim and commercial success – Now this could well be at the top of a wish-list for any director. Ever since Jab We Met, Imtiaz Ali is seeing it all. Love Aaj Kal, Rockstar and Highway later, he is now gearing up for his most ambitious film till date, Tamasha. Reuniting with his producer Sajid Nadiadwala and composer A.R. Rahman after Highway, while roping in Ranbir Kapoor (Rockstar) and Deepika Padukone (Love Aaj Kal) again, he couldn’t have asked for more when it comes to putting together a dream team. With just a couple of weeks remaining for the film’s release, the director opens up on Tamasha.

Imtiaz Ali (Left) with Sajid Nadiadwala

Imtiaz Ali (Left) with Sajid Nadiadwala

While Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone are indeed one of the best looking couples on screen, how did you go about making sure that as performers, they excel as well on screen?

I spent a lot of time with them before we hit the shoot. The three of us are groupies and that is not just restricted for the films we do (smiles). We hang out, talk about films, go through the lines, improvise. All of this happens much before we are on the location or sets. Sometimes, we had to meet at odd hours as both of them were busy. It was fun though. My job was to familiarize them with the sentiments and emotions of the film.


One can pretty much sense that as actors, both Ranbir and Deepika have yet again surrendered themselves to your vision. In a way, that’s a big win for you as a director when your actors have blind faith in you, isn’t it?

It is a great responsibility. This is something that I realized during Jab We Met itself when I was working with Kareena. I didn’t know her too well but still she told me that she would do what I wanted from her. Whatever I was telling her, she was doing without thinking. Now when I was making Tamasha, I had to be very careful about what I was telling my actors. I had to think it all through, be very careful because they trusted me. The thing with both Ranbir and Deepika is that they give so much of themselves to the part. You have to make the best of such a situation.

Meanwhile, Deepika is doing constantly well ever since one can remember. In fact the game changer was Cocktail that was written by you. Her current standing today must be a relief for you since it is a role reversal from Love Aaj Kal days when she needed a hit to be back in the thick of things?

I will tell you something. The trends of the market change very soon but a film is permanent. One month or one year later, the trend changes. The strength that Deepika brings to the film will last forever. I always concentrate that exact value which Deepika brings on as an actor. When you have a certain stature as an actor, the popularity will follow. That’s the way I have always thought.

Still from Tamasha

Still from Tamasha

Guess that’s the way your producer Sajid Nadiadwala thinks too? After all, he has given you ample resources to make Tamasha at the most virgin of locations.

The good part with him is that he has a solution to all your needs. I wanted Corsica and he made it happen. We shot for 30 days out there and such places were explored where even the French haven’t gone (laughs). We even shot for a portion of the film in Japan. We got the best technical team. Good credit to him that the production went so smoothly. He has a smart combination of creative skills and business acumen that truly works. After Highway, it has been a continued partnership with Sajid bhai on Tamasha.


So what happens next?

(Pauses) Well, I have become more and more myopic with life. I am totally blanked out about what I would make next. There are no plans. I don’t look at the genre of a film before making it. What happens is that I devise a film organically. It is on the basis of what comes out of me. It could be any genre. A romantic affair, a film about friendship, a thriller – it could be anything.