Wednesday, June 12
Jab Imtiaz Ali got emotional on a visit to his

Jab Imtiaz Ali got emotional on a visit to his alma mater, Hindu College


Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali’s love for his alma mater, Hindu College at Delhi University, is not unknown. But the last time he visited his college campus, it was not just a trip down the nostalgia lane but also one last experience of seeing the hostel rooms where he created major memories from his #CampusKeDin. “There’s a sad and bitter note to this visit,” said Ali, who is a 1993 graduate in BA (Hons) English, as he knows that the Boys’ Hostel is being brought down for a new building to be constructed in its place.

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali recently visited the old building of boys' hostel at Hindu College.
Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali recently visited the old building of boys’ hostel at Hindu College.

Overwhelmed with emotions, Ali told us, “I am [constantly] seeing the building of the Hindu College Boys’ Hostel because it’s getting demolished. I’ll probably never see it again. I’ve taken some pictures of it, and the world moves forward for sure… But the three years I’ve lived here, in three different rooms (can’t change). It makes me feel very sad that I won’t see this again.”

Ali was on campus on October 9 for an alumni interaction with the NAAC committee, which visited for the college’s accreditation. “The good thing about coming to college is that it feels like you are still in college,” says Ali, adding, “All those issues that time has tried to resolve… of anger, of trying to change the world, and all those silly notions I had in my young days, they came back to me whenever I revisit my college. And somehow I feel most powerful while being in college. Last time (in April, 2022), when I went up the stage in the auditorium, I thought nothing wrong could happen to me here! That’s the reassuring feeling whenever I come back.”

Many among the present students clicked selfies with Imtiaz.(Photo: Kriti Kambiri/HT)
Many among the present students clicked selfies with Imtiaz.(Photo: Kriti Kambiri/HT)

“It was such a surprise to see him check out the entire college campus like a student here and not a celebrity,” shares Anshika Chauhan, a final-year student of BSc (Hons) Chemistry, adding, “While wandering he reached the new research centre building and just casually started talking to us about our work… I must say I haven’t come across a more humble person than him… He didn’t say no to anyone requesting for selfies, and humein toh khud se bola ki ‘Selfie chahiye toh kheech lo’!”

While visiting his alma mater, one thing he can never miss is checking on the members of Ibtida — the dramatics society of the college, which was founded by him during his student days. “This (Ibdita) is my longest playing production,” says Ali, who huddled with the students to share how he formed the society and is gratified to see it reaching new heights today. “The society has been here so long! All these years, the students have done better than we ever did. It’s not a boastful statement at all and neither am I trying to be modest over here. Every year, I come over here and realise that the batch of Ibtida is doing better than we’ve ever done. And I’m so proud and I consider myself lucky that they’re doing so well. I was here for only three years, three decades ago, and the rest of the years other people have actually contributed to Ibtida. And I’m very grateful for it.”

Huddled with the present members of Ibtida, Hindu's dramatics society, is Imtiaz Ali on the staircase of the college's Amphitheatre.(Photo: Kriti Kambiri/HT)
Huddled with the present members of Ibtida, Hindu’s dramatics society, is Imtiaz Ali on the staircase of the college’s Amphitheatre.(Photo: Kriti Kambiri/HT)

Rishabh Wadhwa, the president of the society and a final-year student of BCom (Hons), shares, “When Imtiaz sir started talking about his student days and ‘his Ibdita and our Ibdita’, we were all left in awe. He told us how he started with stage and did theatre for fun, and felt proud that we’re pursuing this craft professionally and have expanded it to the stage and screen. Now, we’ll soon be sending our play (in the screen category) to him and await his feedback on the same.”

“We also gifted him our official Ibdita merch, a red T-shirt and hoodie,” says Chinmay Juyal, general secretary of the society and a final-year student of BA (Hons) Philosophy, adding, “I told Imtiaz sir that the bright colours match his personality. He even asked if the hoodie has his name on it… and guess what, it actually does!”

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