Imtiaz and Anurag have a pact

Oct 24, 2007 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Oct 25 (IANS) Anurag Kashyap and Imtiaz Ali are long-standing friends and their second directorial ventures, "No Smoking" and "Jab We Met" respectively, release Friday. But they are chilled out about it, as there is no resemblance either in the concept or execution of their films.

The two directors had mutually agreed not to release their films on the same Friday if there were any similarities in them. But the situation never arose.

"I saw 'No Smoking' a few days ago and loved it. Fortunately, 'Jab We Met' and 'No Smoking' are two totally different creations targeted at different audiences," Ali told IANS.

"Anurag is a very dear friend of mine. I've known him for years. If we had seen any resemblance between our films we'd have asked our producers to hold the release. But the focus of Anurag's film is completely different from mine."

Another similarity between the two filmmakers is that they are working with commercially established stars for the first time.

Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapur are playing leads in Ali's romantic comedy "Jab We Met" while John Abraham is playing the protagonist in Kashyap's dark drama "No Smoking".

"That's true. But speaking for myself I'd work with stars only if I required them. If the movie is a Rs.20-million film then you've more freedom to do what you've to do. And stars have to be used properly. I had never interacted with stars before."

"I wasn't a fan of Kareena initially. Maybe I saw her wrong films. But I knew she was a high-potential performer. And she rocked in Mani Ratnam's 'Yuva'. Now in 'Jab We Met', she surrendered completely to my vision. Such energy and conviction! If I asked her to jump in front of a car, she did it."

Ali is completely bowled over by Kareena, who agreed to work without makeup in his film.

"I told her, just don't do anything to your face. For large portions Kareena is completely without makeup. She's in great shape. The time is right for her.

"After working with her, I feel we've seen just 40 percent of her potential. There are some people who have a divine connection, like Sunidhi Chauhan and Kareena. If I get to work with stars like Kareena, why shouldn't I work with them?"

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