I’m the first fan of my brother: Sajid Ali on Imtiaz

Mumbai: “Laila Majnu” director Sajid Ali, younger brother of filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, says he is highly influenced by the “Rockstar” maker who is like a father figure to him.

Sajid, who is making his debut with “Laila Majnu”, told IANS: “I am the first fan of my brother. Since he is 12 years older to me, he is more like a father than a sibling. So naturally, I am highly influenced by him — but more so as an individual, than a filmmaker.”

Recounting his childhood, he said: “Bhai is a natural storyteller. When I was a baby and he was in his boarding school, during his vacation, he used to put me to bed telling stories in a very engaging manner. He used to sing and do voice acting to tell a story. I used to close my eyes and imagine the visuals.”

Sajid claims that then itself he knew that his brother is a great storyteller.

“I was never a good storyteller like him, but he constantly inspired me to be the one I am today,” he said.

Anything about Sajid that Imtiaz got inspired by?

“Yes, his hairstyle is actually influenced by mine,” Sajid said with a smile.

“It was the time around my college days after the release of his debut film ‘Socha Na Tha’ when he came to visit our family home. I had long hair and he said, ‘Wow! I like your hairstyle, I think I am going to grow my hair’. So by the time ‘Jab We Met’ released, the world saw Imtiaz Ali with long hair.

“But I doubt if he remembered because it was that small talk,” he quipped.

Imtiaz smiled and said: “That is possible if he says so, but I must say he always had good long hair.”

The film “Laila Majnu”, releasing on September 7, is written and presented by Imtiaz and directed by Sajid.

Asked if he noticed any of his influence in Sajid’s work in the film, the “Tamasha” director said: “I think my brother is emotionally very articulate when he explains a scene to an actor. I tend to give example when explaining a scene (to an actor). But he tells the exact thing that needs to be done to get the scene right. Also, his sense of music is very good.”

“Sajid is very pure with his craft,” Imtiaz added.

Citing an example, he said: “It is tempting for a director to set a scene in a beautiful background just to impress the audience with the beauty of Kashmir. But no, if the scene needs to be in a kitchen, he sets in the kitchen and not in a beautiful apple orchard. Such a thing comes from a creative mind and a headstrong person.

“I think my brother is very genuine and honest.”

So, is that something Imtiaz picked from Sajid?

“Well, we are siblings, grew up in the same house and came to the world from the same source. So I think we learn from the same place, to be honest about what we do,” he said.