The 2002 hit film Saathiya was not just Vivek Oberoi's claim to fame. Mani Ratnam and YRF's joint venture also launched Shaad Ali, the director of Vivek and Rani Mukerji-starrer. He followed up the success of the remake of a Tamil super hit with another blockbuster Bunty Aur Babli starring Rani opposite Abhishek Bachchan.
After the box office failure of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007), Shaad assisted on Ratnam's films including Guru, Raavan and Raavanan. In an exclusive chat with PeepingMoon.com, Shaad says it wasn't a big deal for him to step down to assisting.
"It’s not a big deal for me. We have a relationship where it is very normal for him to ask me to come up or for me to tell him that I am on the sets. It’s just people’s perception. It’s great fun to be in his company and we share a great rapport. Mani sir’s sets are always a tough set and you continuously have to see and be of some help to him."
Shaad's last directorial, Ok Jaanu, released in 2017, was a remake of Mani Ratnam's Tamil superhit O Kadhal Kanmani. Since Ali has assisted Ratnam, one would guess it would have been a task to match up to the expectations. But that wasn't the case, says the filmmaker.
"OK Jaanu was a holiday film, it was not a challenge at all. Saathiya was a challenge. It was challenging to make an original film. OK Jaanu was chilled out. The only challenge with OK Jaanu was shooting a moppet which was challenging."
Shaad Ali hails from a filmy background. His father, Muzaffar Ali, has helmed cult classics like Gaman, Umrao Jaan, Aagaman, Anjuman amongst others. He is also a Padma Shri Award recipient. Speaking about recreating one of his father's works, Shaad told us, "I don’t think that I’ll be able to. I think Gaman is what I like a lot but I don’t know whether I would properly make it because the time is also different. Maybe, if it was put in a different context it can be remade."
On the audience for a film like Umrao Jaan today, he says, "I won’t say that people don’t have a soul anymore; it’s just that the soul is different."
Shaad asserts that he knows nothing of the "weather and the trends," he would, however, like to make a musical drama sometime later. "I don’t know, I tried it (musical drama) but I think it didn’t work, so, maybe a little later and not right now. I am still very reluctant and hesitant about music. It’ll take me a while to come out with a complete music album.
About his future projects he said, "There is a story which I am working with my grandparents which has patriotic tones, so hopefully sometime soon."
Back with Soorma, Shaad attempts to tell the tale of Hockey player Sandeep Singh. The biopic stars Diljit Dosanjh, Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi in the lead roles and is slated to arrive in cinemas on July 13, 2018.