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08-12-2012, 12:51 PM #1
Shaad Ali all set to make a comeback with a bang
The wonderfully talented Saathiya director Shaad Ali, son of Muzaffar Alli , is back from the wilderness. Nothing was heard from Shaad after his box office fiasco Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom in 2007. Sporadic titbits as to Shaad’s plans to settle in his native village in Uttar Pradesh and to join politics kept trickling into Mumbai from Lucknow and Kanpur where Shaad was stationed.
Now, 5 years later Shaad is back. A surprise call from the soft-spoken director ended all speculation.
Shaad is ready to direct his next film, and then he goes on to his raison d’etre, the film that he was born to make, so to speak.
First Kill Dil. Yes, that’s the breezy but not frivolous romantic film Shaad starts at the end of the year with his buddy Ranveer Singh in the lead.
Speaking from Kanpur, Shaad said, “I want the title to convey the theme and mood film. And I think I’ve got it bang-on. Kill Dil is a film about the tricks that the heart plays on the unsuspecting victim of love. Ranveer is pukka for the male lead. The film has another male lead and of course the female lead that I will cast soon as I return to Mumbai in a couple of weeks.”
Shaad sees Kill Dil as a warming up for his next film, the opus based on the life of his grandmother the legendary freedom fighter and activist Lakshmi Sahgal who passed away in July. Deeply attached to her, Shaad has been in mourning for a month.
A lot of speculation has been going on about Shaad’s plans to make a documentary on the life of the legendary Lakshmi Sahgal.
Speaking on the subject for the first time Shaad clarified, “I’ve already put together a documentary on her life. I am now working on a feature film based on my Naani’s relationship with my Naana (Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal). My Naani had an astounding political career. She was part of the Indian National Army during the Freedom Movement and was closely affiliated with Subhas Chandra Bose. My film would explore her political history in some detail.”
But it’s his grandmother’s love –story that really interests Shaad the most.
Said Shaad dreamily, “My Naana was from Punjab. My Naani was from Tamil Nadu. They came together during World War 2. They fought and they loved together, and they made a life together. It’s an amazing love story. It was the coming together of not just two individuals but two political ideologies and cultures.”
Shaad wants to make his Naani’s tale on an epic scale. “It will be a love story like Gone With The Wind. The same canvas, sweep and arc, the same grandeur of emotions. It will require a budget way beyond what love stories generally cost in our country.”
While digging into his own memories of recollections that Lakshmi Sahgal shared with Shaad the filmmaker will also rely on extraneous source material.
“I’ve bought the rights of American scholar and author Peter Ward Fay’s book on India’s struggle for independence which has vivid details of my grandmother’s activities during World War 2.The book is not available in India. I’m trying to get Rupa & Co to introduce a reprint of Prof Fay’s book in the Indian market.”
Shaad says his contract with Yashraj Films is over. But he’d love to work with them on his grandmother’s bio-pic. “It would depend entirely on which production house is willing to believe in and fund my dreams. Believe me, I dream about my film on my grandmother when I sleep. Kill Dil would be like a warming up after my 5-year sabbatical. The film on my grandmother would be my actual return to form.”
Shaad wants to cast a newcomer as Lakshmi Sahgal. “I don’t think an established star would work in the role. Only a talented newcomer would be able to project how I envisage my grandmother’s life.”
Shaad returns to Mumbai later this month. “It’s been a long lay-off. A lot has happened in my life. I needed to find myself, to know what I wanted to do. I think I’m ready for my second innings.”