Sal­man and I are like broth­ers: Ali

HT City - - Front Page - Prashant Singh

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.”

PHOTO: YOGEN SHAH

Ali Ab­bas Za­far has di­rected ac­tor Sal­man Khan in Sul­tan

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