Ali was born to Muzaffar Ali and Subhashini Ali née Sehgal, an Indian politician and member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He is thus the grandson of Azad Hind Fauj commander Lakshmi Sehgal. He studied at the Welham Boys' School and the Lawrence School, Sanawar.
He made his directorial debut under Yash Raj Films and Madras Talkies, with Saathiya (2002), starring Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukerji. The film was a remake of Mani Ratnam's Tamil film Alaipayuthey (2000). Saathiya's script was written by Ratnam. The film did well and established Shaad Ali in the industry.
His second film was Bunty Aur Babli (2005) which for the first time brought together real-life father and son Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan alongside Rani Mukerji. The film was one of the biggest hits of the year.
He has directed movie Ok Jaanu which released on 13 January 2017. Ok Jaanu is a remake of a Tamil movie O Kadhal Kanmani. This film reunites him with A.R Rahman after a long hiatus since Saathiya (2002).
His latest movie is Soorma which is a biographical sports drama film based on the life of hockey player Sandeep Singh releasing on 13 July 2018, which reunites him once again with his favorite composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
He married stylist Aarti Patkar, five years after his divorce from ex-wife Shahzneen Hussian.
|2005||Bunty Aur Babli||Yes|
|2007||Jhoom Barabar Jhoom||Yes|
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- Nisheeth Sharan’s "Grillopollis" hosts Sanawar’s reunion over its first preview dated 23 October 2010 at glamgold.com, accessed 11 March 2012
- "BoxOfficeIndia.Com-The complete Hindi film box office site". Boxofficeindia.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "BoxOfficeIndia.Com-The complete Hindi film box office site". Boxofficeindia.com. 2007-12-13. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "'Kill Dil' gets 'kill'ed officially; collects a mere Rs 20 crore in opening weekend". The Indian Express. 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
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