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'I am financially broke right now'

Last updated on: July 30, 2009 

'I am financially broke right now'

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After the success of his second film Jab We Met, Imtiaz Ali has come up with yet another love story called Love Aaj Kal. Starring Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, the film promises to be just as interesting as his earlier hit.

Imtiaz Ali talks to Patcy N about the film, and why -- after making a blockbuster -- he is still bankrupt.

How has life changed after the success of Jab We Met?

Life has not changed much. If it has, I don't really know because soon after I finished Jab We Met, I started working on Love Aaj Kal -- and I have been out of station for a year and a half for that.

Personally, nothing has changed. I still live in the same house. People around me are the same. They still criticise me for the stuff I do. I am still financially broke like I was before Jab We Met.

Still financially broke?

I should negotiate better with producers, and I will in future. But I have not made too much money.


Image: Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone. Inset: Imtiaz Ali

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'I don't know what I will do next'

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Was there a line of producers at your doorstep after Jab We Met?

No. Many producers did approach me but I was already working on Love Aaj Kal. I work on one film at a time, and don't decide on my next until after my finish my current project. Like right now, I don't know what I will do next. So that's why I told the producers that we will talk later because I was busy with a film.

Why did you decide on Saif? Who approached whom?

I had met Saif a couple of times before this film. I had approached him as an actor earlier. I had a story and wanted to cast him. But when I met him about it, he asked me if it was okay if he produced it because he was forming a company with Dinesh Vijayan. I was okay with it.


Image: Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone

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'Saif did not get a double role just because he produced the film'

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Does Saif stepping in as a producer affect the script? Did his role become a double role since he was producing the film?

Not at all. I was only concerned that he should not have any part to play as a producer while he was acting, as that would be too much of a load on him. But he said Dinesh Vijayan would handle everything. So my problem was solved.

He did not get a double role just because he produced the film. He does not throw his weight around. I have a reason why I have used Saif as the younger Rishi Kapoor -- it's because the same guy should play the lover in the present and past so that the contrast comes across better.

In the film, Saif plays Rishiji's younger version. In the present time, he plays a guy who visits Rishiji's cafetaria and looks similar to Rishi. So Rishi gets attracted to him.


Image: Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone

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'Each person feels that love in his time was better'

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Will the audience accept Saif as the 1965 character? Will they identify with a sardar hero?

I think they will. Many successful period films have been made. People identify with the human portrayal of a person rather than the era it is set in. Otherwise people in Mumbai would have liked contemporary Mumbai-based films more than other films. But that is not true.

Saif's sardar look has got into a controversy.

As long as there is democracy, controversies will arise. If it becomes dictatorship, that will have its own misfortunes. So let's not comment on it. It has nothing to do with the film, it's very political. We are presenting the Sikh community more proudly in this film than we did in Jab We Met.

How did you get the story of Love Aaj Kal?

From conversations with a lot of people. Each person feels that love in his time was better. So when you talk to a lot of people, they start fighting for their points of view. It's a very interesting kind of argument.


Image: Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone

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'I am not very educated about cinema'

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You only make love stories. Why don't you try other genres?

I am not very informed or educated about cinema. So I don't really know the different genres. I am limited by doing a story I like. I take up anything that comes to my mind, and later realise that it's a love story as well.

How was working with Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh?

Neetu was there for a couple of shots only, to bless the film. She is not playing a major part.

Rishiji has a big role. He brings a lot of comfort with his experience and talent. We learnt a lot from his enthusiasm and attitude. The old-timers have humility while performing, which I love.

Since Deepika is seeing Ranbir, how were Rishi and Neetu with her?

Deepika has very few scenes with Rishiji. After their scenes were shot, they would go out. We had fun.


Image: Ava Mukherjee and Saif Ali Khan

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'Kareena is my favourite actor'

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What made you take Deepika instead of your Jab We Met heroine Kareena?

Suitability. Only people who suited the characters were taken. Thankfully, Deepika said yes.

How close are you with Kareena?

I have a very good working relationship with Kareena. She is outstanding and my favourite actor. I am very fond of her. We enjoy working with each other. I want to work with her a lot more but it is obvious that I can't offer her just any role. It has to have standard.

Are you making a sequel to Jab We Met?

No.


Image: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone

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