Imtiaz Ali says that as a filmmaker he did not cast Kareena Kapoor after Jab We Met in Love Aaj Kal though Saif Ali Khan has produced the film because he did not want to spoil his film by casting the wrong actress even though he is Kareena"s favorite director
Is Love Aaj Kal your favorite or Jab We Met?
It is quite difficult to say as a film maker which film of yours you like better. I cannot say whether I like Love Aaj Kal better than Jab We Met, because you become very subjective when you set out to make a film and you just cannot be a critic. Al that I can say is that I try to make a film as well as I can.
How was Saif as a producer?
For me, Saif was not a producer but just an actor in my film. Though he was just an actor on the sets when the film was being made, he came in with his intelligence, common sense and creative ideas during the post production and publicity of the film.
What is the reason that your films tend to be realistic though they are commercial by nature?
The reason you will be able to soak in reality in my films is that I had grown up in a very middle class family and have spent my growing years in smaller cities, because my dad was in a transferable job. I came from Delhi to Mumbai. Movies that I make will always reflect what I have gone through in my life
Kareena is upset that though you are her favorite director, you have cast Deepika in Love Aaj Kal and not her!
I am happy to hear that Kareena Kapoor thinks very highly of me. She is my favorite actress too. The reason I did not cast her in Love Aaj Kal because I am of the opinion that just for the sake of working with your favorite actress, you should not make a mistake and spoil the film, if you feel as the director that an actress does not suit a particular role.
Do you feel Deepika suits her role in Love Aaj Kal better than Kareena?
Like Kareena suited the role of Geet in Jab We Met, I feel Deepika Padukone suits the role of Meera in Love Aaj Kal to the T.
What do you like the best about Deepika?
Deepika has a sense of silent perception, a certain quality and nature which suits the character of Meera that she is playing in Love Aaj Kal.
You seem to prefer to make every film of yours on love. Why?
Love is something that I do not understand at all, though it is ironical that all the three films that I have made till date-Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met and now Love Aaj Kal deal with love. Love can mean different things to the same person at different times. I feel that love is a very overbearing word.
How can you make films on love when you confess that you do not understand love at all?
So what if I set out to make films on love though I do not understand love at all? People who write about God do not know anything about God because they have not seen god. Similarly I set out to make films on love.
Will every film that you make be a love story?
All said and done, I would say that I will make a film on a story which I like best at a particular time. I will not waste time thinking whether the story that I like is a love story or not. It is immaterial for me as a film maker. I will however direct only one film at a time.
What is Love Aaj Kal about?
In every household the older generation always tend to tell the youngsters that hamare zamane mein aisa nahi karthe the. The earlier generation thinks that the younger generation only indulges in sex whereas the younger generation finds the older generation very boring and extremely ridiculous. The old people tell the youth that love is not a mathematical puzzle that you can set out to solve in a jiffy.
Is that the message that you set out drive home through Love Aaj Kal?
The message that I strive to drive home through Love Aaj Kal is that if you feel there is no innocence in love now like it used to be in the 70"s, it is wrong. Just because physically the youngsters these days tend to be very intimate, it does not mean that there is no innocence in their love. However let me make it very clear that I am not judgmental about love in the film.
How tough was it to cast Neetu Singh in your film?
It was not at all tough to get Neetu Singhji on board in my film. I told her that I was a huge fan of hers and Rishiji also put in a good word about me to her and she agreed to stage her come back as an actress after a long period of time in my film.
Has it been a conscious decision of your not to repeat your stars?
It is a fact that I have not repeated my star pairs in every film that I have made till date. If I had Abhay Deol and Ayesha in Socha Na Tha, I had Shaheed and Kareena in Jab We Met and in Love Aaj Kal I have Saif and Deepika Padukone. It has not been a conscious decision on my part, because I always as a filmmaker go with actors who suit the characters that the script demands in my films.
Would you set out to make a film with new comers too?
Each film has its own niche budget. Just as you get right actors to play the right characters, you should also be realistic enough to take stars to recover your budget. The day I feel that I am in a position to make a big budget film with new faces, I will definitely go ahead and do a film with new faces.
Are you scared or nervous now that Love Aaj Kal is being readied for release??
I am not scared at all. There is no time to get nervous when you are busy with your work. Some work is always there, because once the film is completed, you are busy with the post production and then the release plans. I feel that nervousness is a luxury a director just cannot afford to have. All that I can say is that if I do not embarrass myself when my film is released, I will be glad.