By JASKIRAN CHOPRA
DEHRADUN, 12 Sep: It was indeed a very special class that students attended this evening .The teacher was none other than star director Ali Abbas Zafar, a Doonite who has made it really big in Bollywood with major hits like ‘Sultan’, ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ and ‘Bharat’. The talk that he gave at a local university and the queries of students that followed made the evening extremely engaging and fruitful, providing direction and understanding to the youngsters regarding their careers . The session was made more interesting as Pankaj Shukla, a journalist from Amar Ujala (Mumbai), was in conversation with Ali Abbas who shared many of his memories of Dehradun where he did his schooling at Marshall School. “Doon is my first love and I will come back soon to shoot a big film here,” said the young, inspiring Director. He shared the journey of his life as well as his journey as a director. “Passion, confidence, a strong belief in oneself and patience together will help you in any profession,” he told the students, adding that he had always followed this and believed in the stories he had to tell the world. “I knew that I was creating something out of nothing and was sure that it would be something good,” he asserted. Ali Abbas spoke of his association with Salman Khan and said that the star had an “intimidating persona” and was moody. “However, I knew exactly how to work with him professionally. I have never idolised any star.” He praised the star, particularly, for his hospitality. Ali told the students that he had struggled a lot while he was new to the industry. He had no work and had to wait outside studios and offices for two years. “But I never took my failures to heart and kept my belief in myself strong.” The impressive director, who is now turning producer with the film, ‘Khaali Peeli’, also shared his memories of Kirori Mall College, Delhi University, where he had gone to study science but got immersed in theatre and turned to literature and began dreaming of making films! He said his father was not fine with all this then but was now proud of the work he had done. “My parents appreciate my work but are also my greatest critics.” When a student asked him what he looked for in a new actor, he answered that, to be a good actor, one needs to understand the character, have a command over language and an understanding of the script. “The art of observation is very important, both for actors and directors.” An important message he gave to the students, who spoke about the struggle which had to be undertaken to become part of the film industry, was – “Struggle one must, but the struggle should be a channelised one. An unchannelised struggle is no struggle!” He also said that the film industry was very ruthless and “one was as good as one’s work”. If the work is not good, people will forget you soon, he said. Ali said that he had inherited a strong value system from his parents and he would not like to make a film that people could not watch with their families.”We have a culture of cinema where films have done very well without resorting to things that are not part of our culture. So I would like to make such wholesome films.” It was a packed house and Ali was greeted with loud applause after every few minutes as the students felt the impact of his creativity and wisdom. He could relate to them very well and they could see him as one of themselves who had, through the courage of conviction, acquired name and fame in the film industry. Ali kept saying that he still felt an outsider in the industry as he had no background there. However, he asserted, the industry had chosen him to be a part of it. “They call me the kid of the industry as most directors are senior to me in age as well as experience.” Resident Editor of Amar Ujala Sanjay Abhigyan was present on the occasion. The event was organised by the Amar Ujala group.