Ali Abbas Zafar on Salman: “I can push him to do things which others cannot”


Ali Abbas Zafar is 36 and has been around for a decade as the top of his craft. Having directed four films he has already become Bollywood’s 1,000-crore plus director. His latest blockbuster ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ (2018) has crossed Rs 500 crore worldwide making it Salman Khan’s biggest film till date.

The film, also starring Katrina Kaif, has trumped ‘Sultan’ (2016) as the highest Yash Raj grossing film ever, reports The Indian Express.

When asked if he is concerned about all these large numbers he replied, “The money is not coming to me, it’s coming in the industry. I just feel that the money corresponds to the number of people who have seen your film. As a filmmaker you only feel empowered when the story you conceived or your thought process is getting connected with your audience. Somehow I think that is the bigger success for a filmmaker.”

Ali also opened up about his mega success rate and how he made his way into the list of the most successful directors today, without any filmy connections or backing. “God has been kind and I have been fortunate to achieve this much in such a less time without coming from a film background,” he said.

In his younger years he moved to Mumbai where his stint at Yash Raj Films helped him prepare to finally write and direct his first film; ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’ (2011). Soon after, ‘Gunday’ (2014) and ‘Sultan’ followed too.

“I started working when I was still 19. When I realised this is what I wanted to do, I never looked back. I’ve been lucky that I met the right people, from directors to Aditya Chopra to all the actors. They all have been a solid support to my work and my conviction. So it’s just not a single person’s journey, it’s a teamwork. You come in touch with people who channelise your energy in the right way and then you become who you become eventually,” Ali said, recalling his journey.

Ali also reflected on his personal relationship with Khan. The two are teaming up once again for ‘Bharat.’

“I think it’s the bond of honesty because I personally think he is one of the very few people in the industry who’s very honest, who is like ‘what you see, is what you get’. And I am somewhere exactly like that. He is so senior to me so my relationship with him has always been like that of a younger brother. We don’t have a director-actor relationship. So when that happens, I can push him to do things which maybe a lot of filmmakers won’t be able to do,” Ali said.

Ali signed off complimenting the work of the people in front of the screen. “The talent in front of camera is the purest talent and you can’t let your tension or frustration out on them because by the end of it people will only watch them at the theaters and won’t understand what went behind creating that scene or setup. You need to focus on your actors, give them all your love as a director.”

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