Hindustan Times - Brunch - - Front Page - By Veenu Singh // Pho­tos shot ex­clu­sively for HTBrunch by Hari Nair

Film­maker, mu­si­cian, designer, and craftsper­son Muzaffar Ali has mixed feel­ings about so­cial me­dia. On the one hand, he has to ac­knowl­edge that it has added great power to the mar­ket­ing of any prod­uct, from fash­ion to films. On the other hand, he’s found that shar­ing de­tails of his de­signs on so­cial me­dia is like beg­ging pla­gia­ris­ers to just take his work.

“At this rate, we may soon end up be­ing in a court in Luc­know all the time. Per­haps we should soon plan a fash­ion show there,” laughs Ali.


Tra­di­tion plays a huge part in all of Ali’s work. The posters of his films on the walls of his home, for in­stance, are all in clas­sic black and white, from his very first fea­ture film, Ga ma n (1978), to

Aa ga ma n (1982), An­juma n (1986), and the best known of all, Umra o

Ja a n (1981). Yet, though his creative sen­si­bil­i­ties still find ex­pres­sion via pen and pa­per, Ali is no Lud­dite. He wel­comes change, as long as it comes sen­si­tively. For in­stance, his daugh­ter, Sama has joined his fash­ion la­bel, House of Kot­wara, adding youth and glam­our to their de­signs (and also the so­cial me­dia pres­ence that keeps send­ing him to the court in Luc­know). And he has nothing but the best things to say about the changes that Bol­ly­wood is see­ing just now. For in­stance, the way we’re less likely these days to find our hero­ine and hero in Switzer­land, and far more likely to dis­cover them in cities and towns that In­dia is very fa­mil­iar with.

“Re­al­ism has be­come very im­por­tant for film­mak­ers to­day, and that’s why lo­ca­tions like Delhi and Luc­know are finding favour with them,” muses Ali. “One can get won­der­ful ef­fects in low light with the use of good cam­eras.”

As lo­ca­tions have changed, so have the sto­ries and the me­dia that they are pre­sented in. “As a film­maker, I can see that there have been a lot of changes in the industry,” says Ali. “I was in Goa re­cently for the film fes­ti­val and was struck by the fact that a lot of films to­day are based on very strong ideas. The ideas to­day are more en­gag­ing and have much bet­ter pro­duc­tion val­ues, be­cause there is a global ap­proach to­wards things. And though this global mar­ket­ing is the norm abroad, we still have some catching up to do on that front.”


He is not quite as thrilled with changes in the world of mu­sic, how­ever, es­pe­cially the ob­ses­sion with giv­ing a new spin to old songs. Al­though Ali does agree that tastes and sen­si­bil­i­ties dif­fer, point­ing to the way com­poser and singer A. R. Rah­man uses voices and in­stru­ments to his own tastes

“Afte r watch ing TheCrown, I re alise d th e e ffe ct g lobal marke ting and so­cial me dia h as on th ing s to­day…” — M uzaf­far Ali

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