Exclusive: Ali Zafar – On 'Kill Dil' And More
Diversity is the name of the game. And Ali Zafar knows that all too well. The Pakistani music composer, singer-songwriter, painter and actor made his Bollywood debut in 2010, with an off-beat and somewhat unconventional satire, Tere Bin Laden, after which he’s acted in a number of different films, one of which is the upcoming Yash Raj film, Kill Dil – in which he shares screen space with veteran Govinda, and peers Ranveer Singh and Parineeti Chopra.
The film hits the marquee in a few weeks and we were fortunate enough to get the chance to catch up with the actor and quiz him on his character and what to expect from the comedy drama. Excerpts:
Tell us a bit more about Kill Dil and your character in it, because the trailer doesn’t really give that much away?
So, I play a character called Tutu in the film. The film is about two friends, Tutu and Dev (enacted by Ranveer Singh), two professional hitmen who work for a character called Bhaiyyaji (Govinda) and how their day-to-day lives change when a character called Disha (Parineeti Chopra) enters their lives. It’s an action drama with a dose of comedy, and I’d say it’s a full on entertainer with great music to boot.
The trailer has a very 'Tarantino-esque' feel to it... Do you think the Indian audience is open to digest something so quirky?
Yes, absolutely because I feel Indian audiences have evolved a great deal and they’ve become a lot more open to new styles of filmmaking and storytelling. The response we’ve had for the trailer is enough proof of that fact, and based on that response I definitely think this film will do well at the box office.
How did the film happen? Did Shaad Ali (the film’s director) approach you, or did you approach him?
Actually, I was approached by Aditya Chopra and then by Shaad who narrated both the film and character to me. I loved my character so that’s how I came on board!
Shaad Ali's last film was Jhoom Barabar Jhoom which was a critical and commercial failure. Did that make you apprehensive when you came on board for a film directed by him?
No, not at all because he has done good work and made films that have been successful at the box office like Saathiya and Bunty Aur Babli. He’s still a competent director and we get along really well and I’ve been a big fan of the two films I mentioned and I was really keen to work with him.
Besides, the story and the plot of Kill Dil were enough to convince me so I had absolutely no reasons to feel apprehensive to sign this film.
In your last film you shared screen space with Imran Khan, here you're with Ranveer Singh. When can we see you in a solo YRF outing?
(Laughs), Yaar! That I don’t know – only Yash Raj Films can answer for you!
What is Aditya Chopra like as a producer?
He’s a wonderful person to work with and work for… He’s very friendly and always encourages you to do good work… He’s genuinely a great guy.
Your experience with working with a veteran like Govinda?
Govinda is one of the best actors in the world, at least according to me! I really enjoyed our time together, and I couldn’t help but be in awe of him whenever he was around. I got to learn a lot from him when he was on set, it was a really enjoyable experience.
Imran or Ranveer? Who's the better co star?
(Laughs) I cant really answer that… In my eyes they’re both fantastic! They’re both incredibly spontaneous and I had a great time working with the both of them.
Parineeti is the ideal costar. She’s a great actress and all three of us bonded really well from day one and have become really good friends even though the film is now complete.
Are you happy with the way your career has turned out so far?
I’m incredibly happy with the way things have turned out so far. I’m not a very materialistic person, I always strive to seek happiness and contentment from the smaller things in life and I’m lucky to have been blessed with big things, so there’s absolutely no reason not to be happy!
You’ve had a fairly successful innings, but how important do you think a Rs.100 crore film is to your career, given that that’s such a big fad at the moment?
(Laughs) No body minds a Rs.100 crore film and I definitely have a feeling that Kill Dil will be my first Rs.100 crore film.
What's next after Kill Dil?
I haven’t signed anything new recently. I’m quite picky when it comes to choosing films and I also want to devote time to my music as I have an album which is all set for release next year. Whenever I pick something it has to be exceptional and has to be something that excites me like my character in Kill Dil, which is so unusual, so different.
I don’t do films for the sake of doing films that’s one thing I’m clear about. I have Tere Bin Laden 2 coming next year. That’s quite different and people can expect to see me in a different avatar in that.
Can you elaborate further on the music album you have releasing next year?
My last album was Jhoom which was in 2011 and it did really well. My music is mainly pop and I always ensure that I sing from the heart, there’s no specific style to my music. It's very personalised.
What can your fans expect from Kill Dil?
Full on entertainment with substance!
Kill Dil: Official Synopsis
Once upon a time in North India, two killers – Dev (Ranveer Singh) and Tutu (Ali Zafar), roamed free. Abandoned when young and vulnerable, Bhaiyaji (Govinda) gave them shelter and… nurtured them to kill. All is normal in their lives until destiny throws free spirited Disha (Parineeti Chopra) into the mix. What follows is a game of defiance, deception and love.
Kill Dil has music by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy and hits theatres 14 November 2014.