Taking the plunge

Different debut

His eldest brother has made his own space in the film industry with critically acclaimed films like Highway, Rockstar, Jab We Met etc to his credit, the second brother is set on to make his directorial debut pretty soon with Lekar Hum Deewana Dil that has Raj Kapoor’s grandson in the lead, and he, following his brothers’ footsteps, is soon set to make a beginning as a director as well.

We are talking about 30-year-old Sajid Ali, who is currently working on his directorial debut — a John Abraham production, primarily titled Banana. “Initially, we titled the film Banana because we thought it is apt. It’s symbolic of life, which is as curvy as a banana and that is what our story is — about life. However, of late we realised that it could mislead the target audience and thus a lot of brainstorming is happening to come up with a suitable title,” says Ali, who also professes that since the word has different connotations also, it only makes sense to change the title.

In a first

As we move on to talk about other progresses in the film that may be ready for release in a few months, Ali says that the post production work is soon to start. “The entire shooting has been quite a learning experience,” he says and adds that the best part is that he was given a freehand in the direction process. 

But considering John is putting his money in the film, weren’t there suggestions from him? “I have been lucky that way. All the suggestions have worked as guidance,” says Ali, who was free to take his own decisions while working on the film. 

Since his film his set in Jamshedpur and tells the story of the main protagonist through his teens, the director wanted a cast that is young and fresh. “I was happy that everybody associated with the film understood this and I had the freedom to choose a young team of actors, basically from Jamshedpur,” says Ali, adding that another thing to have worked in his favour was the association of all young and new people.

“Except the producers and Irshad Kamil, the lyricist, the entire team comprises young people, from the director of photography to cameraman to other technicians. While it helped me have a control over the team and direct them, it also gave me a lot of space to improve as everybody understood that I am new and may take time to learn things,” he says.

Brotherhood

He doesn’t reveal much about the actors or the storyline of the film, but says he believes in it.

However, as far as learning is concerned, it didn’t just happen on the job, his early influences helped him a lot as well, especially the ones derived from his brother Imtiaz Ali who is 12 years elder to him.

“Imtiaz is more like a father to me. In fact, both my brothers are like father figures as Arif is also nine-years-elder to me. I look up to them for any kind of help and support,” says Sajid also reminiscing his younger days as a school boy when he eagerly waited for Imtiaz to come home from Delhi where he was studying.

 “His visits during the vacations were not only, but were full of conversations on various topics. Those were enriching experiences,” he says.

While Sajid agrees that his elder brothers have had a lot of influence on him, he confesses that unlike Imtiaz, who is an avid reader, he hardly reads. “The first book, The Godfather by Mario Puzo, that I read was gifted to me by Imtiaz a few years ago. Since then, I have read a few other books, but reading is not something that interests me,” he quips.

However, reading is not that he is thinking about right now. It is just his film that is taking up all his time. He wants it to be good so that it gives him confidence to make a mark in the industry like his brother.

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