One of the rare directors who made the entire country go gaga with his unique cinematic filmmaking style, one of those directors who proved that Bollywood can go beyond telling the same old conventional romantic stories, one of those directors who set ablaze a new flame in the hearts of cinema-lovers.
Albeit it was all an eternity ago and now, it seems like the flame has been extinguished and the same director has taken a nose-dive in his filmmaking career. This is the story of Imtiaz Ali, who once made films like Jab We Met and Rockstar but is now digging his own grave by churning out movies like ‘Love AajKal 2’. Oh! the travesty. Let’s begin nonetheless.
Born on 16 June 1971 in Patna, Imtiaz Ali had been a talented chap from the beginning. Credited with starting the Dramatics Society at Hindu College, Imtiaz began his career with TV serials, where he directed serials like ‘Imtihan’, ‘Naina’ and ‘Kurukshetra’ to name a few. He also wrote and directed scripts for popular anthology shows like ‘Rishtey,’ which aired on Zee TV.
After his successful stint on television, Imtiaz forayed to the big screen. His first film ‘Socha Na Tha’ released in 2006, but was disliked by the masses, and bombed at the box office. However, the very next year, Imtiaz brought forward his cult masterpiece Jab We Met to the silver screens, starring Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan in the lead roles. The film’s unique take on relationships was like a breath of fresh air and the audience flocked to the theatres. The movie deservingly won numerous awards and accolades. A Hollywood movie by the name “Leap Year” was also made soon after, and many felt that it was inspired by Jab We Met.
The success of his second movie catapulted Imtiaz Ali to the major league and from there he did not look back. One after another, he went on to give smash hits. In 2009 his film “Love Aaj Kal”, which highlighted the changing perceptions to love, was very much liked by the youth. The amazing confluence of both the old and the new way of love was certainly quite unique in itself.
Imtiaz’s success story continued unabated with the 2011 release ‘Rockstar’. The film garnered critical acclaim and several box office awards during its run. Ali himself was nominated for Best Story and Best Director at the Filmfare Awards while Ranbir Kapoor won the Filmfare Best Actor Award for his power-packed performance in the movie. Imtiaz Ali’s next film ‘Highway’ may have sparked controversy in context to the alleged glorification of the Stockholm syndrome concept, but it also shed some light on sensitive issues like child sexual abuse. All in all, Alia Bhatt’s acting and the film’s strong storyline made the film a smashing success.
But perhaps things went downhill for Imtiaz from here and unlike his previous movies, the upcoming roster of movies proved a disaster for him. “Tamasha” was a hit-and-miss amongst the cinema-goers and the reviews varied drastically. It had a patchy story that was somehow saved by the movie’s ending salvo which was definitely high for the entire movie.
Now there are many aspects of an artist, and one of them is ideology. Artists in our country always had a certain ideology, in which they are either pure leftist or purely right-wing. But when your ideology starts dominating your work, then you are bound to go astray from the formula of churning out good quality movies. Unfortunately, Imtiaz Ali did not understand this at all, and he followed the same path that people like Anurag Kashyap and Zoya Akhtar, unfortunately, trod upon.
In 2017, Imtiaz Ali’s film Jab Harry Met Sejal, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma released but upon the release of the film, the public was seen scratching their heads after coming out of the cinema halls as to what they had just watched.
They say everybody has a failure at one point or another but matters are that you learn from them but it seems like Ali did not learn from the catastrophic failure of this film, and went on to produce ‘Laila Majnu’. While the film was not directed by Imtiaz, but his imprint on the movie was evident as the script of the film was written by him. The film fell flat at the box office and its domestic box office collection did not even cross 3 crores.
Coming to ‘Love AajKal 2’, the movie has again proved a disastrous outing for Imtiaz Ali as it seems like he has sacrificed his film career with his own bare hands. The film has failed to woo the audience, and we are left to wonder if it was all beginner’s luck for Imtiaz. It is undoubtedly sad that a filmmaker of the highest calibre like Imtiaz Ali has been consistently missing the mark when it comes to the quality and content of his recent movies, but we are hopeful and optimistic that the seasoned director bounces back because at the end we all are a sucker for good movies.