Salman and I are like brothers: Ali
Four big films and back-toback hits over six years, a family-like equation with two top stars (Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif), and two big films waiting in the wings — sounds like a dream run, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how director Ali Abbas Zafar’s career has shaped up so far, and the director is readying for his next big release, Tiger Zinda Hai, on Christmas.
However, success hasn’t gone to his head. “At heart, I still feel that I am an assistant director (laughs), and I would love to be like that. For me, every film is a new experience, so I’m not content at all. I feel I still have a lot of things to say [through films],” says Ali, who last helmed Sultan (2016).
Besides the cast, what stands out about Tiger Zinda Hai is its story. “In 2014, this event (kidnapping of Indian nurses by ISIS in Iraq) happened; it was all over the news. I wanted to do a fictional film based it,” says Ali.
When he wrote the story, it wasn’t supposed to be a sequel to Ek Tha Tiger (2012). “But then, I thought that this film was also about Indian intelligence, and we already had Ek Tha Tiger. So, I talked about it with Adi (Aditya Chopra, producer) and he got really excited and told Salman about it; Salman and Katrina also got equally excited,” he says. Despite the references to ISIS, “the film is not political at all”, says Ali, as it’s only about right and wrong.
After this, Ali teams up with Salman again for Bharat. “My relationship with Salman is like that of a younger brother. We don’t interact like a typical actor-director [duo],” he says. “When I started Sultan, it took two-three weeks to break down that whole idea. But, [Salman] was always very patient with me.”
Ali Abbas Zafar has directed actor Salman Khan in Sultan