Director Imtiaz Ali is on cloud nine with the response his road drama 'Highway' received at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
'Highway', starring Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda in the lead, premiered in the panorama section of the prestigious festival on February 13, a week ahead of its world release this Friday. The festival concluded last night. "I have never been invited to a film festival before.
I thought this would not be the right platform to showcase my film because the audience were European mostly. But it was heartwarming to see that despite not knowing the language, they related to the movie's storyline. It felt great to be applauded by Berlin audience," Imtiaz said. Imtiaz, 42, said while he was nervous about the screening and the audience's response, his leading lady Alia was concerned about his red carpet outing.
The premiere was also attended by music composer A R Rahman and actor Randeep Hooda. "Alia was concerned about what I was going to wear. She took me to shopping and made sure that I buy a new pair of jeans and shoes. I bought it and teamed it up with a bandgala," Imtiaz said. The director said during their shopping trip to a mall, he was surprised to see that all the three screenings of 'Highway' were housefull.
"When we went to the place we were shocked to see that there was a ticket chaos for our film. It was a huge hall with around 800 to 900 seating capacity. It was overwhelming to see a red band showing housefull when our film rolled on the screen.
All the three screening of the film were housefull," he said. The 'Rockstar' director said fellow director Anurag Kashyap used to tell him to take his films in festivals. "I always felt that only creative filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap go to film festivals and to these glamorous cities. This is the first time that a film of mine was invited to a festival. I remember Anurag used to tell me that your films should go to festivals."
Imtiaz said Shah Rukh Khan and Kashyap are in great demand in Berlin. SRK even shot his 'Don 2' there. "People like Shah Rukh Khan and Anurag Kashyap have international appeal. Anurag has a unique reputation as a filmmaker there.
These countries are getting more interested in Indian cinema. People couldn't relate to our work earlier but now they are watching Indian cinema," said the director. Imtiaz said post Berlin, he is planning to take more of his films to International film festivals.