Says Imtiaz, "I was supposed to make a film with Ashtavinayak featuring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor. Though it was a story written by me I didn't quite like it myself. So I dropped the idea. I've no idea what I'll be making for them. But I'm committed to do film for them next. Though we haven't discussed my price or anything." Imtiaz has also been signed by Sajid Nadiadwala to direct a film.
Nowadays Imtiaz Ali spends maximum time with people of a rather dubious social standing. His best friends at the moment are black-market ticket-sellers at movie theatres. They're the ones who are keeping him constantly informed about the box office progression of Love Aaj Kal.
In fact they are so familiar with Imtiaz's movements that they track him down wherever he is to give him an update on his film's collections.
Says Imtiaz, "These black marketers are fearless and they mean business. They won't tell me anything but the absolute truth about the ticket sales. They are the best and most reliable source of information on how my film is doing. The trade analysts have their own take, and the buzz within the industry tells me nothing about how the film is actually doing. Because everyone has his own axe to grind so I've found this method of monitoring my collections."
Imtiaz knows all the black-marketers by their names. He knows where they live and they are free to visit him any time. The entire time since his film's release Imtiaz has been hobnobbing with his friends in the black zone.
On Monday he was spotted outside Mumbai's Chandan theatre at noon, inquiring anxiously about the shows for Monday. "They told me they had bought tickets to sell in 'black' rates for Monday evening and night and they had bought out the tickets for all the shows on Raksha Bandhan so I'm happy."
Imtiaz intends to celebrate with his friends from the black zone once the film is a certifiable hit.
"I'm not going by anyone's verdict except theirs" says Imtiaz resolutely. "You can call it a bit of chor bazaari in my life."
Imtiaz is upset by the guarded critical response to Deepika Padukone's performance in Love Aaj Kal. "I think she really, really got the point. She understood the character and its aspirations and she took her on internally. The best compliment for Deepika came from Saif. After seeing the film he said Deepika gave a better performance than him."
Imtiaz Ali's next film would be for the production house Shree Ashtavinayak (who lately ran out of Luck).