The lockdown has taught Ali Fazal that anything can happen at any time. “I won’t stop living because something hasn’t worked out. I am happy. And there is life beyond work,” he says.
Commenting on the conversations regarding favouritism, insider-outsider, which “are necessary”, he says, “We are all artistes and we can’t hate. Sure, we have major issues but that is the case with every industry. Instead of only talking about the problem, let’s think about the solutions. What we need is a change in the system and structure especially how technicians are treated at a contractual level. We should talk about equality of pay, inclusion riders and royalty and make it all legally binding.”
Fazal admits that he doesn’t strategise his moves instead plans his “career” — be it OTT, Hindi or English films. “If that was the case, I wouldn’t have done films and OTT together. I made a mark in the web space and got recognition as the Indian actor working in Hollywood. But till now, I don’t have a huge hit to my name in the theatres. I want to learn and get better at my craft.
Talking about his career and choices, he says, “My first film was with director Saeed Akhtar Mirza and it was never released. Next was a Shah Rukh Khan production, which didn’t work and I understood what marketing is. I have done three to four films, jiske naam liye toh, bach hua career bhi nikal jayega (laughs). Very few people were batting for me as unfortunately, in our industry, image ke hisaab se roles milete hain. There’s no risk taking as if an action or comedy works, then we see an influx of such movies due to herd mentality. Then the web happened and Guddu’s role in Mirzapur worked and how. In fact, I was dissuaded from doing a web show but I stuck to my gut.”
He shares that this year, he doesn’t have an Indian film lined up for release, which makes him “anxious”. “A lot of things are in development and once the lockdown is over, I will get clarity,” says the actor, adding, he has dubbed for Mirzapur 2 and a short film.
“Sometimes, I regret that I can’t give all my time to just one place,” says actor Ali Fazal, who has got recognition in the West for his role in The Victoria & Abdul (2017) and his upcoming film Death on the Nile, co-starring Gal Gadot. “Unlike how people go to Hollywood often to audition, I didn’t. The offers happened organically. There is so much happening there and if you want to be in an industry, you also have to be there, but that’s not possible. As long as I have a good body of work, it’s all good,” he says.
The actor feels as a number of movies are releasing on OTT platforms, it will “level the playing field for now”. Fazal says, “Without box office collections, no one is a flop on OTT. One could say it’s the slow death of celluloid or the communist era in cinema (laughs). It will be a learning curve. Of course, once the theatres open up, things will go back to normal as nothing beats the magic of theatre.”