SOUL SEARCHING AND SOCIAL MEDIA
ING MEERA AND MUZAFFAR ALI
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.
THE CLASSIC AND THE REAL
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.”
INFECTIOUSNESS OF LIBERATION
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