The worlds of Imtiaz Ali and Anurag Kashyap ever colliding might come across as a surprise to many, as one makes epic romantic films while the latter makes thought-provoking darker-themed films; but the two have been friends since college and worked together in the film Black Friday (2004).
Black Friday holds a cult status till date and many might have missed Imitiaz Ali’s quick appearance on the screen. In a recent interview with The Lallantop, Imtiaz shared how Anurag Kashyap convinced him to act in his debut directorial film, Black Friday, and how the former regrets being in the film.
The film is based on the book “Black Friday: The True Story of Bombay Bomb Blasts”, written by Hussain Zaidi, and it chronicles the 1993 Bombay bombings. The film looks at the events that led up to the bombings and the police investigation that subsequently took place.
Black Friday was in a three-year-long battle in the court before it was released in theatres in India. It has received widespread appreciation and critical acclaim since then.
How Imtiaz Ali met Anurag Kashyap
Imtiaz shared in his interview that Anurag was in Hansraj college and he located Imtiaz’s hostel in Hindu College after he had heard that Imtiaz was going to be a part of the production team for an upcoming TV series. Imtiaz revealed that Anurag had initially wanted to be an actor and had brought his portfolio along with himself.
“Anurag’s portfolio was the first one that I ever saw”, Imtiaz shared. He added that he did not know too much about the concept of portfolios or that he was going to be a director one day and would go through a lot of portfolios.
Imtiaz shared that he was thoroughly impressed with how serious Anurag was about his work.
Anurag Kashyap used his acting skills to convince Imtiaz Ali
Sometime after Anurag and Imtiaz became friends, Anurag asked Imtiaz to be a part of his upcoming film Black Friday. By this time, the two were living in the same building.
Anurag asked Imtiaz to play the role of the character Yakub Memon and the latter had initially refused. A single question by Anurag, however, was enough to convince Imtiaz: “Main aapke liye jaan de sakta hoon, aap mere liye role nahi kar sakte?” (I can give my life for you, you cannot do a role for me?).
The Jab We Met director jokingly said that the struggling actor in Anurag came out to blackmail him. Anurag told Imtiaz that the scene would only require him to be present for a day. The latter was then called to sets several times over the next few months.
“I think woh mujhe zaleel karna chahta tha” (I think we wanted to embarrass me), Imitiaz said with a smile, stating that he regrets acting in the film.
Lesser-known facts about Black Friday
Imtiaz Ali wrote a part of the film
Imtiaz shared that the intro scene in Black Friday was completely different to the finalised one, as he helped Anurag rewrite it.
Black Friday and Imtiaz Ali’s hair
Imtiaz shared that Anurag asked him to not cut his hair for follow-up scenes that needed to be shot with him. Imtiaz never cut his hair short after that and might have never had long hair if it wasn’t for Black Friday.