Actor Ali Fazal talks about his new music video Aaj Bhi, being a bookworm and taking yoga seriously

Actor Ali Fazal is back with a romantic music video Aaj Bhi opposite Surbhi Jyoti
Ali Fazal and Surbhi Jyoti
Ali Fazal and Surbhi Jyoti

Actor Ali Fazal's career graph has seen a steady rise in the film industry in the last decade. After a few average projects in Bollywood Ali grabbed eyeballs with the character Guddu Pandit in the popular web series Mirzapur (2018) before making a mark in the film Fukrey in 2013. The 33-year-old actor has also made his foray into Hollywood with projects like The Other End of the Line (2008), Fast and Furious 7 (2015) and the biographical comedy-drama Victoria & Abdul (2017). The Mumbai-based artiste who is tightlipped about the much-awaited second season of the crime thriller and his next big project offshore – Death By The Nile, is back in a music video Aaj Bhi sung by the talented singer Vishal Mishra. Starring opposite TV actor Surbhi Jyoti, the Lucknow-born actor tells us that during lockdown he is keeping his sanity intact with serious yoga and reading multiple books apart from doing household chores. The actor gets talking about getting back together with the Mirzapur family (who also directed the song), reliving the exciting phase of Indie-pop music scene and more. Excerpts:

This is your second music video after Pyaar Manga Tha. Can we expect more of these musical projects in the future from you?

It’s not something that is on the agenda or I do consciously. Thankfully, I have been busy with a lot of film work, Mirzapur, and I always have my other leg in the West. Guru (Gurmmeet Singh) who directed the video called me and offered the role, and the song took hold of me. Some songs hit you, and Aaj Bhi did just that. I thought I might be able to bring something to the table. Plus the team of VYRL Originals were present and Vishal is such a gifted singer. I couldn’t let the opportunity slip. Also, Pyaar Manga Tha was a remixed version, while this is an original composition.

How did it feel being back with the team of Mirzapur, given that Gurmmeet co-directed the series? It turned into a mini party with the crew of Mirzapur — with the same camera team and Guru on board. The atmosphere was homely, and it helped Surbhi and I bond better. The chemistry with the wife was also very important for me, though you see her in just one scene. We shot the video in Chandigarh in mid-January and completed it in less than two days.

This music video is much like a mini-story from the 1990s. Do tell us about the inspiration behind this video.

Oh Yes! There were so many music videos back then, and each one had an interesting narrative with it. I remember Alisha Chinny, Shaan, Sonu Nigam, Bombay Vikings… (starts humming Kya Soorat Hai). Indie-pop was at its glory in those days. Ek Bada Accha Daur Tha… what a phase it was! Later people started running after remixes, I too have been part of it. But I believe we have some great lyricist, musicians and singers and I am proud of this song. It’s a great collaboration. Aaj Bhi also has a very interesting premise, and it reminds me of all the women in my life who have been instrumental in making me who I am today. Whether it’s my mother, grandmother or the women I have dated. They all make us, whether it is good or bad. So, it’s a tiny celebration of all those moments.

How are you keeping yourself fit during this lockdown?

I never took yoga seriously, which I am doing now. I get up before sunrise and practice meditation and breathing exercises. That keeps my sanity intact. Plus, half of the day is spent cooking and cleaning. And I should tell you my kitchen is a mini-crime scene now, and mera khana bhi jal jata hai (My food also gets burnt)!

Are you reading or watching anything now?

If there is something that I can multitask in, it is reading books. I am reading three books now, and that includes Uta Hagen’s A Challenge for the Actor, a book by Noam Chomsky and Malice, a novel by a Japanese author Keigo Higashino. I was hooked to Better Call Saul before I decided to bury my head completely into my books, and I have not opened TV for four to five days.

Are you following Richa Chadha’s Quarantina series where she is playing a news reporter?

What she is doing is a genius idea, and I find it very interesting and entertaining

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