Imtiaz Ali on web-series She: Glad that I am doing something I am not associated with

Updated: Mar 22, 2020, 07:28 IST | Shaheen Parkar | Mumbai

Known for his romantic dramas, Imtiaz Ali discusses why he chose to explore the thriller genre for his maiden digital offering, She

Imtiaz Ali
Imtiaz Ali

One would believe that Imtiaz Ali and crime thrillers don't go together. After all, he is the mind behind some of Hindi cinema's famous love stories. But Ali says he was happy to give in to the allure of the uncharted path as he explored the thriller genre with She on Netflix, his maiden digital offering. "I did not plan it [the shift of genres]. I am glad that I am doing something I am not associated with. It's my first web series, so I might as well make a new beginning," he says.

Though he always writes and directs his projects, She sees Ali as a writer and show runner with the directing duties assumed by filmmaker-brother Arif Ali and Anaarkali of Aaarah director Avinash Das. "I realised I could not do everything, as making a web series is like making four feature films at the same time. So, I preferred to look after the creative side and hand over the directorial reins to them."

Still of She
Still of She

Starring Gully Boy (2019) actor Vijay Verma and Aaditi Pohankar, the film revolves around a female cop who has a self-awakening journey as she joins an undercover operation to expose the underbelly of Mumbai. The filmmaker was not tempted to rope in big names from Bollywood, instead focusing on the demands of the roles. "In the digital world, it is all about the actor [being the perfect fit for] the character. Most web show actors, especially in the US, became big names due to their performances in the shows."

Will work harder to understand audience: Ali on Love Aaj Kal's failure

Still of Love Aaj Kal
Still of Love Aaj Kal

Ali's last Bollywood outing, Love Aaj Kal—a modern twist to his 2009 outing of the same name—was panned by critics and audience alike, with some cinegoers even demanding a refund on their tickets. Ali agrees that he has introspected since the film's failure. "I will have to work harder to understand who I am talking to and how I should be telling the story for them to enjoy," he says, before adding, "It's not the question of what I did was right or wrong. I did what I felt at that point of time. I hope to get an answer from the audience over time. Some films are appreciated much later. For instance, Sholay did well after weeks [of its release]. I am not saying my film was a Sholay, but nowadays, we only look at short-term gains at the box office and not at a film's longevity."

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