Filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia’s latest project Milan Talkies that hit the theatres on March 15 has been headlined by Ali Fazal and Shraddha Srinath. The film, set in Allahabad (a few years ahead of being named Prayaagraj), tells the story of aspiring filmmaker Anu (played by Ali) and a young girl (played by Shraddha) bound by shackles of caste and class in a small town. The movie had been an ongoing project since 2010 and several Bollywood actors were earlier considered for the role of Anu, but the project kept getting shelved.
When asked about landing the lead role in the movie, Ali says, “When I finished shooting for Amazon Prime’s web series Mirzapur, Tigmanshu Sir asked me if I would be interested in playing the lead in this film and I agreed to it. He had told me about the film earlier in 2012, when I went to congratulate him on the success of his National Award-winning film, Paan Singh Tomar.
Milan Talkies focuses on how the advent of multiplexes has led to the shutting down of single-screen cinemas across the country, besides showcasing social evils like caste and creed.” Tigmanshu, who was trained in National School of Drama (NSD), is also seen in the film as Ali’s father.
Similar to his character, when asked if Ali would like to direct a film someday, he is quick to say, “It’s too early to direct a film. I am still learning the ropes in the film industry. But I’ve done a short film and it’s a hush hush project as of now. It’s a concept-based film and almost like a silent film. The sound you will hear in the film is of the ambience. It’s all rhythmic. I am worried now about the audience’s response since the film is nearing its release date. But film direction is not on the cards for me as of now.”
Like many other Bollywood actors such as Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor and Frieda Pinto, Ali has done various Hollywood projects too. From doing a small part in the Paul Walker-starrer Fast and Furious 7 to playing a lead role opposite Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul, the 32-year-old is no stranger to the West.
Ali shares that he has signed a new Hollywood film but does not reveal any further detail. “I have signed my second Hollywood venture after Victoria and Abdul where I will be playing the lead in a war drama. The film is based on the Iraq war and will feature four well-known Hollywood actors but I cannot divulge other details,” he concludes.