Imtiaz Ali
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Imtiaz steps in for Ruskin Bond!

Imtiaz Ali

By HT

New Delhi, Oct. 21 -- Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali recently read out a letter by author Ruskin Bond (inset) at the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF). The 80-year-old writer's novella, A Flight of Pigeons, was based on the acclaimed 1979 film, Junoon, which was revisited and presented by Ali at the festival. Hence, Bond, too, was invited to be part of the event but was unable to travel owing to bad health.

"I had invited Ruskin Bond for the session, but he wasn't able to make it as he isn't in good health. However, he has written a letter about the film and its journey," said Imtiaz.

The film's screening was followed by a Q&A session with the director of the film, Shyam Benegal, and Nafisa Ali, who played a pivotal role in the film.

Sharing his views about the film, set during the 1857 mutiny and based on an Indian Nawab who wishes to marry an Anglo-Indian woman, Ali said, "Junoon is the most inspiring film that I have seen. There are certain films that you just love and only later you sit down and analyse what you liked about them ... Junoon was that film for me. It was very artistic; it reminded me of the stories that I was told during my childhood. I felt like it was the story of my forefathers. It was romantic, but was a realistic portrayal of life." The film was produced by actor-filmmaker Shashi Kapoor and earned rave reviews from the critics.

While Ali continues to seek inspiration from good films of the past, he's also focussing on his future projects. Talking about his next film with actors Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone - Tamasha, the 43-year-old director shares, "It is wonderful working with these actors. We have completed the first schedule, and will start the second one in winter.