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Imtiaz Ali on being told women in his films don’t have agency: ‘Not every story can be about a woman finding the agency’

Bollywood filmmaker Imtiaz Ali is often quizzed about how he writes the female characters in his movies.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 6, 2022 12:36:48 pm
imtiaz aliDirector Imtiaz Ali says he doesn't want to teach people how to live. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, who has directed films such as Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, and Highway, among others, feels he cannot repeatedly tell stories about women finding their agency. The film director is often quizzed about how he writes the female characters in his movies.

While talking to Vice in a new interview, Imtiaz said that he feels “fascinated by women for having been in a role which is more repressed and disadvantaged than men, and yet having that smile and grace on their faces.” He added that women are “smarter than men” in every measure.

Citing the example of his film Highway, starring Alia Bhatt, and his web series She, he said that both stories are about “women finding their agency.” But Imtiaz suggested, “Not every story can be about a woman finding the agency. Why am I not allowed to mix stories of different nature or they mean something else? I am here not to actually tell people how to live their lives.”

Imtiaz wrote Cocktail, starring Deepika Padukone and Diana Penty, which was directed by Homi Adajania. Talking about the film, he said that he was very ‘fascinated’ to know that Western girls he met in London were more eager to become ‘domiciled’ in a traditional manner than Indian girls. “It was a story of two women, one of them having an extremely open-minded, Western upbringing and another having a very traditional Indian upbringing, and their meeting in London, and actually going the other way,” he said.

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Ranbir Kapoor, who collaborated with Imtiaz in Rockstar and Tamasha, had said in 2011, “He’s well read. He understands the complexities and dynamism of relationships. He understands a woman very well, in a very correct and realistic way.”

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First published on: 06-08-2022 at 12:35:04 pm

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