I always feel immature and stupid: Imtiaz Ali

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The hottest director in town, Imtiaz Ali speaks about films, love, life and other things...

Your film Rockstar became a talking point and got mixed reviews....
I remember too well that all my movies, including Jab We Met got mixed reactions. This is my favourite audience reaction, when people are engaged with it, talk about it. Also, I am happy with the fact that commercially, people who had invested in it got the money back.

Those who didn't like it too much, the common complaint was that they couldn't feel the emotional connect that they feel with your movies...
If you expect the same from me movie after movie, it is restrictive for me no? Just like everybody else, the person who is making a movie is also growing. Certain things worked in Jab We Met. Being in the business for a while now I know what lines will get me the applause; most people know how to do it, but that is manipulation. It has a shortsighted gain but it will not stand the test of time. I think purity stands the test of time. I am not saying I made a good film, but I am happy we recovered the money and made some more on the top and that has given me the ability to go in a different fashion and explore more. It has made me more confident that the only way to survive in this industry is not by making replicas of what I have made. Beyond a point people will get tired of me and uske baad mera kya hoga? I still can't believe that I am a film director and I am learning what direction is now. I no longer want to impress you, I just want to talk to you through my films.
Your woman character Heer in your last film looked too feeble...unlike the powerful women in your earlier films...
There was a purpose that Jordan and Heer had in this movie, probably she came across as feeble...I don't know, maybe that was a mistake. But if I keep meeting expectations, you will get bored of me. Rumi says all those who are not fish, will be too tired of water. If you don't have it in you to survive, you won't. Right now I can talk to you in a way that I could elicit praise from you but praise can be very restrictive...
But also addictive...
If you are dumb enough to believe all of it. You need to be constantly connected to yourself. If you see most of these successful people, like Rahman, Aamir, Salman, SRK, Salman are connected to themselves. It is not a coincidence that someone's successful. That's why these people are successful; it is not a coincidence.

Do you see yourself getting wiser after spending time in this industry?
I am more transparent now. However, there is a change that I don't like. I used to be much more confident than I am now. I used to think whatever I do, I am right. But now I am exposed to so much more, I feel like a pebble on the beach. But then and now I have always felt that I am immature and stupid. I always wanted to belong to that group of people who are smart. Even now I am trying. I want to belong.
With successful movies under your belt, you have to get more confident...
I do hope so, otherwise I am screwed. There is nobody who knows what Bollywood is. When I was trying my luck, people would say picture toh rickshawwale dekhte hai. Why you making a Socha na tha? Now they say forget rickshawwalahs, make movies for multiplexes.

You are one of the few directors if not the only who can be called sexy. Are you comfortable with the tag?
(Fumbling for words) I don't know. I can't believe this but I do feel shy about it. Inside, I am just this north Indian boy. I would be happy if I am considered grown up. I have an easy relationship with attention. I always feel that other people are so much in control and so articulate. I am dealing with it, thought I don't enjoy getting too much of it.
And what kind of women do you like?
(smiling) All kinds. No actually, one kind I don't like. I hate pushovers or doormats. Why do they do it? They pretend to be wonderful all their lives and then they resent it. And then they go around sleeping with everyone. There is so much hypocrisy. Restrictions of society are more inside us than outside. We all are hypocritical at one level or other. It takes courage to be honest. I am trying and most of us are.

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