‘I always wanted to direct’
Not many know that Highway director Imtiaz Ali (right), 44, “started off as a theatre actor” in Delhi. Much later, in 2007, he made his Bollywood acting debut with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday. He played the role of Yakub Memon in the film. However, Imtiaz says that acting was never actually his first love.
“Initially, I acted for a few years in theatre. Then I also started directing [for the stage]. It was while I was working in theatre that I realised that I liked direction more,” says the filmmaker. “By the time I came to Mumbai, I was very clear about not wanting to act. I knew I wanted to take up direction, and I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to handle both. I wanted to do one thing properly,” adds Imtiaz, who hasn’t acted in a film since Black Friday.
On another note, several actors have expressed their wish to work with Imtiaz. Ask him if this kind of popularity leads to any pressure, and he says, “No, I don’t take any pressure. Usually, if I have a story, then I am the one who approaches the actors.”
It was while I was working in theatre that I realised that I liked direction more By the time I came to Mumbai, I was very clear about not wanting to act
Imtiaz Ali, filmmaker