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During all those years of saving pocket money, sneaking out of school and into the cinema hall to gaze at the stars on the big screens, Dehradun boy Ali Abbas Zafar was unwittingly getting his first lessons in films and filmmaking. Now, those early memories are rushing back as Zafar shoots for his own Bollywood film, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan starring Katrina Kaif and Imran Khan.
"I have no family in films or theatre. It was in Delhi University that I realized that the real fun lies in the arts, in filmmaking. The first project I worked on was as a part-timer in the Konkona Sen-starrer Amu," he says, adding that he has grown up on a heavy dose of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Manmohan Desai films. He moved base to Mumbai and was soon associated with Yash Raj Films. "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was my first official film and, over these years, I've managed to borrow a bit of the work ethics and sensibility of every filmmaker I've assisted," he says. If Sanjay Gadhvi and Vijay Krishna Acharya taught him how big budget action films are set up and written, Kabir Khan introduced him to the world of politics and dramatic turns.
After five years with the Yash Raj banner, Zafar got the break to direct his own film. A romantic at heart, the director says that he had three love stories with him but it was Mere Brother Ki Dulhan that Aditya Chopra gave the green signal to. "I always had this fear of writing till I picked up a pen and then, the words just flowed. Writing the 150 pages of my script marked the high point of my life," says Ali. As he preps up for another shot, Zafar confesses, "Films have always been my first love and, at the risk of sounding filmy, this is a dream come true. The film industry truly is a land of dreams," he says.
Shoot at Site
It's Yash Raj's favourite shooting haunt, and the cast and crew of the production house packed their bags once again to pitch their cameras in Sector 8, Chandigarh, for the shooting of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Yash Raj Films' next project is scheduled to release in the summer of 2011. Produced by Aditya Chopra, the musical has Khan's character falling in love with his brother's bride! As the cameras whirred and the actors played out their parts, the police went into an overdrive to keep fans away from the shooting site. Later, Kaif was spotted at Khyber restaurant for shooting.