Why Do I Hate Imtiaz Ali Movies?


Life was so beautiful. I grew up living in a Bollywood that talked of fairy tale endings, where heroes fought against the world, got their princesses and had a happily ever after. And then Imtiaz Ali Movies happened. Suddenly, there were no villains, no evils and nobody to fight against. The characters just had their inner turmoils; the only war was within, and everything got so real. I hate Imtiaz Ali for making realistic cinema that actually felt like a mirror of society.

There’s something about his movies that divides the audience into shades of opinions. Some love the stories for their realness and rawness, and some do not because movies are supposed to be an escape from reality. Well, to each their own. The same segregation will be visible when his latest movie, Chamkila, starring Diljit Dosanjh, releases on April 12, 2024. While Diljit & Imtiaz come together for the first time, the musical trio of Irshad Kamil, AR Rehman, & Mohit Chauhan repeats after the legendary album Rockstar from 2011. Coming back to the topic, personally, for me, Imtiaz Ali’s stories & characters have a special place in my favourites. Not only have I loved their nuances, but I might have become a mix of all of them. Discussing the roles, which I have found best, below:

Aditya Kashyap, Jab We Met

Played by Shahid “Chocolatey” Kapoor in Imtiaz Ali’s second film, this character is simply everyone adulting. Broken heart, unmanageable career, just giving up on all aspects of life and running away to nowhere. In my opinion, Jab We Met was the most Bollywood-like movie from our beloved director.

A bit exaggerated, it is still a beautiful tale of how love, in its purest form, can save you. How falling in love with Geet brought life back to Aditya & how he further helped Geet find herself selflessly. GREEN FORESTS alert, ladies! What made this character eternal was his journey & the way Imtiaz showed him to be more mature by uniting him with his inner child. Beautiful. While Geet kept telling us, “Mai Apni Favourite Hoon”, Aditya found a place in my forevers with: “Tu mujhe bahut zyada acchi lagti hai, par ye mera problem hai!”

Veera, Highway

Can you imagine being so frustrated with your life that getting kidnapped feels like an escape? Veera, enacted by Alia Bhatt (thanks to Imtiaz for casting her & helping us see how brilliant this starkid is), is a frivolous soul. Her carefree essence is well-highlighted through the “Patakha Guddi” song of the movie, where:
“Jugni rukh peepal da hoi
Jis nu pooje taa har koi
Jisdi phasal kise na boyi
Ghar vi rakh sake na koi”
essentially means that Jugni’s character is just like Peepal: everyone worships her, nobody actually grows her, and no one can keep her home. (Peepal trees are worshipped by Indians but do not kept/grown in homes because their roots are very strong). Veera is everything today’s lady is: strong, independent, and not willing to fit in!

Jordan, Rockstar

Released on 11.11.11, this movie is the Bible for Imtiaz Ali fandom. Songs, characters, frames, stories—everything is perfect. Jordan’s character went from being a kid to a daddy (a musical competitor to Mr Grey, maybe) and we could feel the pain that happened in between. Jordan’s musical transition is surely one of the reasons, I still believe that unhealed hearts are better artists. His inability to express himself during “Jo Bhi Mai Kehna Chahun” is something we all go through often.

All our innocent Jordan wanted was to be hit by Cupid’s arrow to write better, deeper & be famous. Little did he know that love & pain are two sides of the same coin. When he looked at Khatana Bhaai and said, “Mera Dil nahin tootna chahiye”, I cried & still do. Jordan was so aggressive but felt rightly justified. Ranbir Kapoor aced the acting game here. Every time he lip-synced through the Mohit Chauhan Songs, he broke the fourth wall and spoke to us directly.

Jai Vardhan Singh, Love Aaj Kal

The ever-so-charming boy next door character: rightly portrayed by our Pataudi Prince, Saif Ali Khan. He is just like the men of this era. Career-driven, practical, detached, and has a thirst for success. It is when he achieves everything he wished for & still feels empty. That is when he realises what really matters. Imagine getting everything to celebrate & having nobody to celebrate with. It was Jai’s journey that changed my perception of all materialistic pleasures/milestones. His isolated phase when he had it all & nothing at once is so dreadfully relatable for all those dreamers at one point in their lives. Do you remember the last scene? Him coming back to Meera.

Thanks to Imtiaz for keeping a fairy-tale ending for this one from all the Imtiaz Ali movies, though. Warna, kon hi aaj tak wapis aaya hai?

Tara, Tamasha

THIS LADY. THIS CHARACTER. THIS MOVIE. Tamasha is the most triggering movie in the Imtiaz Ali movies. At points, the internal conflicts are so apt that they break the fourth wall, and their talk with themselves feels like they are talking to us. I admire Tara because she makes Ved realise who he really is—something he was pushing away because of “family”. What made her shine was that she even apologised & got out of the way once she felt like she had opened up a box, which Ved wasn’t ready to discuss. She stood by him through his outburst and did some magic by just being there.
In the parallel world, Tara might just be your inner voice telling you, “Tu Koi Aur Hai”. The ending scene with Ved bowing down to Tara from the stage lives rent-free in my heart. This Imtiaz Ali movie has had a massive impact on me, which might become my next blog. So, stay tuned!

Also, I wanted to talk about Laila Majnu, but that too will need another blog. While I gather the courage to visit these movies again, I am equally enthused about Chamkila. I cannot wait for it to hit theaters. Are you an Imtiaz Ali fan? Let’s talk more about Imtiaz Ali Movies!


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