Sequels aren’t for me: Imtiaz Ali (Interview)

By Radhika Bhirani, IANS
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NEW DELHI - A sequel has become the sure shot formula for success for most filmmakers with hit movies these days, but not for Imtiaz Ali, who has chosen to tell the pending story of his superhit romance drama “Jab We Met” through a TV series rather than a new film.

“Dabangg” producer Arbaaz Khan, “Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai” filmmaker Milan Luthria and “Housefull” director Sajid Khan recently announced sequels to their respective films. But Imtiaz, who has earlier made films like “Socha Na Tha” and “Love Aaj Kal”, says it’s not his cup of tea.

“Sequels are not for me. I really feel that any kind of movie that I have made has sort of exhausted the script. From a movie point of view, for me as a director, there is no interest left in a story after I have made it,” Imtiaz told IANS.

Nevertheless, Imtiaz saw some potential in the story of Shahid Kapoor-Kareena Kapoor-starrer “Jab We Met” for the small screen, and has helped in conceptualising STAR Plus’ new show “Love You Zindagi”.

The movie narrates the story of Geet, a free-spirited girl from Bathinda. She shifts to Mumbai to pursue her education and ends up falling for a rich boy. While the movie began with Geet heading home from Mumbai, the show starts her story from much earlier.

“TV is a different medium. Films involve a different way of telling a story. The style is very singular and it has a fixed duration. So when you have to do that, you find that a lot of material gets thrown up which cannot find a way into the duration of a film. And, if there is an interest in that material and an opportunity to see it in a serial, why not use it?” he explained.

Imtiaz, who directed shows like “Purushetra” and “Imthihaan” in late 1990s before entering Bollywood, will be only lending a helping hand as a “friend” to the show, because he is “scared” to direct a TV show now.

“I have failed before as a director on TV, so I am a little scared…don’t know whether I will ever try again. I don’t watch TV much but I do know it has progressed to become an industry. Earlier when I was directing TV serials, we were trying to make films on TV, and it wasn’t working for me at least.

“I had my freedom, but I was told ‘You spend too much’ or ‘It’s a nice shot…but it won’t be visible on a small TV’! So I could never really adjust to that. Some of the work that I did was good, but not necessarily successful,” said Imtiaz.

Moreover, he feels he is not suited for TV.

“Honestly speaking - with no level of modesty or arrogance, I would say I am not suited to TV. Maybe I’ve seen too many films sitting in the dark theatres while I was growing up…so anything that comes to my mind is in the movie format.

“Besides, there are a lot of lost souls in the film industry..and I feel I belong there because they are all as weird as I am. So I feel a sense of camaraderie in the movie business,” said Imtiaz.

However, if all goes as per plan, the 39-year-old, known for his unkempt locks and casual style, will do a low-budget travel show after his upcoming movie “Rockstar”.

He has no big plans for the show and says he would be content even if the show goes just on YouTube. He would be glad that he could do two things he loves best - “direction and travel”!

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at

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