It began for him as a way of understanding the mentions of tragic romances in Sufism, and 10 years and innumerable nights later with the two star-crossed lovers, Imtiaz Ali is ready with his re-telling of Laila Majnu.
Talking about the seed of the film, Imtiaz said, “It was around 10 years ago. This was before Rockstar was made. I was very fascinated by all these stories, especially Laila Majnu and I wondered why these people, who were hated, criticised and stoned, have the status of saints in the sufi vision. So, I was fascinated.
“I was literally, for my own entertainment, sitting at night while working in the day, writing scenes because as a writer, I can only understand something better by writing it. So, the purpose was to just write, understand and entertain myself. Lots of scenes were made and 10 years later the movie is out,” Imtiaz told reporters at the film’s trailer launch.
Laila Majnu is directed by Imtiaz’s brother Sajid Ali, who last helmed the forgettable romance, Lekar Hum Deewana Dil. It marks the debut of Avinash Tiwary and Tripti Dimri in lead roles.
Imtiaz Ali said the film does not have the selling points of a quintessential Bollywood love story. “When a new love story is made, all the ingredients that are supposed to be in it, we haven’t put them. There’s no chocolate, no pudding and no floss. It does not have those things that happen when someone truly feels those feelings.
“I knew I would need some mad people to make this film because normal people won’t. It’s a very unsafe film. It has a lot of problems. It doesn’t have all those selling points. But what it has is a story from the heart,” said Imtiaz.
The director also added that he would have made the film “very differently,” so he wanted another director to give a take to his story.
Laila Majnu releases on September 7.