Marketing yourself takes time: Ali Fazal

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | UMA RAMASUBRAMANIAN
Published Dec 2, 2018, 12:04 am IST
Updated Dec 2, 2018, 12:04 am IST
Ali Fazal talks about the transition from celluloid to digital and the exciting times ahead.
Ali Fazal
 Ali Fazal

Nearly a decade since his entry into Bollywood, actor Ali Fazal has not only made his mark here, he has also ventured into Hollywood with films such as Furious 7 and Victoria and Abdul under his belt and is primed for another biopic in 2019.

While the actor lost out many times when projects that he had turned down went on to become blockbusters, he is proud of the choices he made.
Excerpts from an interview:

 

You are known for your unconventional roles. Do you think at times it gets difficult to slot you in a particular category?
I think it’s fine. You have to know your reality and it is very important. A year ago, a producer told me ‘You are a very confusing brand, you have done all kinds of stuff, and I don’t know how to sell a film on you’. My marketability is not as great as Varun (Dhawan) or Siddharth (Malhotra), but it takes time. I have this urban image so it takes time and actors are lying if they say we don’t care at all. We all care.

Is it an expensive affair being an actor?
Yes, it is in a way, but I feel most of the times PR pays. It is expensive in terms of your personal space which gets jeopardised. I don’t get to spend time with my loved ones, but touch wood, I always wanted work and that is happening but this is something that gets lost. I want to manage things.

You and Richa never tried to hide your relationship. So is marriage on cards?
Not right now. It's nice I am in a happy space, but like I said, we don’t even get to spend too much time…we are too busy. I am just happy that we are fresh and enjoying… so let’s see.

Being an outsider how difficult does it get to turn down an offer?
I have suffered many times. So many times mindless projects come my way and I had to say ‘no’. Later I get a lot of flak and am told, “Why did you lose this?” because it turned out to be a blockbuster. It was back then, but I am proud of my choices. I am not selling out and I refuse to do that. I do believe hard work pays off. It took me some time to get Victoria and Abdul and get a validation in my case.

How are you enjoying the freedom that comes with the digital space?
Every kind of celluloid has its own charm and this doesn't stop anyone from doing films. There is a little freedom with the digital space. It's not the violence but the language and you get to explore that. And get to the heart of the realism of those places. Of course, there is a huge responsibility and we actors have to be careful because our faces are going to be there on the screen. It’s a relief at least there is one medium which doesn't have restrictions – it is art at the end of the day.

How do you react to reports that there will soon be censoring in the digital space as well?
People will stop viewing content if we are so restrictive within ourselves because we are catering on a global scale.
If you don’t allow that liberation, that freedom for our people to make that content, we will only become consumers who will receive from the outside and we will not watch our stuff. We go global over 200 counties we are catering to the masses.

Go on…..
I think it is important to see the larger picture and then take the final call if it has to be taken. Hollywood is making money on our platforms and we get enamoured looking at them but we also have everything. We just have to go out and make it with backing. If we don't have our own people supporting us then I can't say anything.

How good is Bollywood in terms of remuneration?
When you get a royalty for your work you feel amazed. And you keep thinking I want to go back to Hollywood for work. I enjoy that. The energy that comes back is encouraging. It is changing but it will take time here.
Slow filtering is happening so we will get there soon.

What's next in Hollywood?
It is not as easy as here where I can talk about the next one. I will get sued for that. There is another biopic that I am doing that will start in 2019. 

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