Actor Ali Fazal tells Ayushi Sharma that when it comes to talking about an ideal cinema, realism has to be the spine
Single-screen theatres today have become as outdated as pinball games and tamagotchis. With the advent of plush multiplexes, their era has long died. And today’s cinema houses are tweaked to cater different kinds of audience at the same time.
Making headway with the advancement of technology and digitisation, it suddenly went missing and could hardly even come into people’s notice. Actor Ali Fazal’s forthcoming film, Milan Talkies is one such film which he feels is a great tribute to all those old classics, iconic actors and single-screen cinema houses.
Ambition, passion, love and politics is what dominates the trailer of the film, he explains. Ali is from Uttar Pradesh in the film and aspires to be the greatest filmmaker in the country. The trailer makes it eveident that he will be seen paying tribute to legends like Prithviraj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar from Mughal-e-Azam, and Amitabh Bachchan from Deewar, while the film itself is a special honour to Tigmanshu’s (Dhulia) passion for filmmaking.
It took nearly four years for Ali to grab the lead role of the film. He explains why, “I had gone to congratulate Tigmanshu for Paan Singh Tomar (2012) and at that time Milan Talkies was already the talk of the town. Then four years later, he called me for the same film. It was my fate that it came to me. I just couldn’t put it down. It was right after Mirzapur. It’s very special to me because I am really fond of Tigmanshu’s style of working. He teaches you to make a mark as an individual in the industry. He knows Bollywood like nobody else.”
Ali smilingly tells us, “This film is a simple story, also quirky in its own way but the romance of cinema has its own novelty.”
Ali has experienced working in both the industries, Bollywood as well as Hollywood. The Victoria and Abdul actor says that there’s a huge difference of cultures between both. “When I am doing a film like Victoria... I am different in my approach, but here, in Bollywood, our celebrations are loud. We express emotions in a way that no one can. But if we talk about the similarity, I think both the industries are working on particular themes. For them, it is heavier on super hero films, and for us, it is the theme of realism which is making a good amount.”
Ali feels that it’s the need of the hour to work on more good content when it comes to evolution of cinema. He says, “With digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon, you are already competing on a global level. You cannot send in garbage, it won’t work. So we have to strengthen the quality — in terms of content.”
He feels that we have had great cinema in the 1960s and 70s, but somewhere post that, “we went down. Then we tried to come up again and here we are now. Because of the competition level, in the idea of cinema, realism has to be the spine. The reception of web shows is growing larger than films now. This must make one wonder why not films at the same level? We have the potential, the writers, directors, and stories — the major reason that the tales are coming from our own heartland.”
Ali will soon be working with actors Sanjay Dutt and Manisha Koirala in a remake of a Telugu political thriller, Prasthanam. He says, “Sometimes a story hits you and this is the reason of remaking the film. We are all in the same country and sometimes a regional film might have a really good story that might connect well with someone elsewhere. So why not remake a regional film? There’s a justification for everything.”
(The film is slated to release on March 15.)
Photo: Pankaj Kumar