Ali Abbas Zafar is counted among the top most successful film directors of Hindi cinema. Ali came to Mumbai while doing theater at Delhi’s Kirori Mal College and Yash Raj Films became his first school of cinema. Ali Abbas Zafar, who was a part of Yash Raj Films for a long time, has now become a filmmaker himself. Her action thriller with Shahid Kapoor is going to release soon and before that her very sensitive film ‘Jogi’ is going to release on Netflix this week. An exclusive interview of Ali Abbas Zafar with Pankaj Shukla, Advisor Editor, Amar Ujala.
In a way, your upcoming film ‘Jogi’ is a story of friendship between its characters Lali, Karim and Jogi? How important is this film according to the present times?
You are absolutely right, this friendship is the heart of the story of the film ‘Jogi’. The first responsibility of a human being is to show humanity. What he wants to do after that is a different matter. Friendship is that feeling of humanity in which there is no discrimination of religion, varna, caste. I believe that the most selfless relationship that is formed outside the home in human relationships is that of friendship.
After directing blockbuster films like ‘Sultan’, ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ and ‘Bharat’ your film ‘Jogi’ is going to release directly on OTT. People were waiting that you will make a big bang on the big screen?
The canvas of the films you are talking about can be big. His glory may look big on screen, but this film ‘Jogi’, has a bigger heart than all these films. The most important thing in any story is its spirit. The soul of ‘Jogi’ is very big. I believe that the progress of a director can be judged only when he does a film after two or four films in a situation which has been unseen for him till now.
You were also very active as a producer during the Corona transition period. When does a director need to become a producer?
My becoming a producer has nothing to do with money. I have only one motive behind becoming a producer and that is that whatever idea comes in my mind about a story, I can put exactly that film on screen. As a producer I know the power of my idea and then I don’t need anyone else’s permission to show it on screen. And, this is also important because the work of any creative person keeps him alive and keeps his need with time.
It is known to all that your interest in theater at Kirori Mal College in Delhi brought you to Mumbai, but before that, how did you fall in love with cinema during your school days in Dehradun?
Our father Kalbe Haider Zaidi was earlier working in Border Roads Organization (BRO) and later retired as an officer of ONGC. You know about Mataji that she used to teach in a government school. There was a study environment at home and my numbers were also good. So there was no tokataki in the house and as soon as the passion of adolescence hit the boom, like Mansoor Khan’s film ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’, we also formed a gang and this gang had only one purpose, the first of every film in the city. Watching the day first show. Shahrukh, Aamir, Salman, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, just used to spend afternoons with them.