Last year, Imran Khan released one film and it turned to gold – ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’ alongside Kareena Kapoor. This year, the actor has two scheduled releases – ‘Once Upon Times In Mumbai Again’ and ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ – the latter releases later this month. BizAsia caught up with Khan about his role in the comedy, which also stars Anushka Sharma and Pankaj Kapur.
How did you land up with the role of ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’?
Vishal actually called me after Delhi Belly and said that he loved the film and my performance in it. He expressed an interest in meeting me.
I thought it must be one of those courtesy calls and moved on with my life. Why would Vishal Bhardwaj want to work with me, I thought.
I was later stunned that Vishal actually wanted to work with me. I heard the script, I cried, I laughed, I did everything. I was like, it۪s awesome. But I was not sure if I would be able to do that role. I questioned him if he was sure about it.
Why were you unsure about if you would be able to do the role?
During the first script reading of the film, I was unable to say the Haryanvi dialogues. It was not easy, I felt I made a big mistake and I should back out.
When I told him [Vishal Bhardwaj] I won’t be able to do it, he said he was sure I could. He had faith in me, even when I didn’t.
So how different is the role from your previous films?
The role is different in terms of it required a lot of preparation for almost two and a half months. I have always felt that the more we rehearse, the better we perform.
[Bhardwaj] was very calm on the set and guided all the performers. Even if something was not working out, he would find a way to make it work. He knows the right way to do things.
How did you prepare for the role?
The film is set in Haryana. So I had to learn the Haryanvi dialect, the accent, everything. I didn۪t want to sit in Mumbai and learn the dialect because it doesn۪t happen organically. So I went to Delhi and hung out with some boys who are from Rohtak in North India. So when you۪re hanging out with guys like that and rehearsing your scene, you naturally pick up the way they speak. You know, they have a sing-song way of talking, it۪s very musical. So that۪s the major prep I did for my role.
Tell us about your experience working with Vishal Bhardwaj?
I was very surprised by his style of directing. He gives a lot more freedom to the actors than I expected. If during the take, you decide to do something different, he will let you do that. He liberates the actor and puts a lot of power in the actor’s hands.
Vishal Bhardwaj is known for casting unusual pairings, how was it working with Anuskha Sharma for the first time?
We have done a photo shoot together. I watched her films and I felt she is a very good actress. But until you work with a person, you don’t really get to appreciate that person. When I actually started working with her, I got to know more about her talent. She has done very good work in this film.
You have done a lip lock scene with Anuskha Sharma in this film, tell us more about it?
It۪s awkward when you are kissing someone who you are not romantically involved with because it is a very intimate act. Normally you do it with somebody who you are very close to, but here you are kissing someone who you don’t know that well.
Pankaj Kapoor also has a very unusual role, how was it working with him?
Pankaj Kapoor as an actor is a very challenging co-star to act opposite, because he improvises a lot and he pulls out new things as they happen. You have to be in the moment with him, you have to be ready with whatever he will do, and you have to be ready to pick that up and take it forward.
We hear that the film has a taboo subject, what is you take on this?
It’s a very taboo subject. Not controversial but people can find a way to make it controversial. I’ll tell you what will happen, one week before the release someone will find a way to make it controversial, someone or the other will get offended, just see.
‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ is considered as a big grosser of the first quarter of 2013, your thoughts please…
Actors have to worry about their work and not money. Producers are the guys who have to worry about the money.
There are films which have done massive business and nobody has liked them. To me, it is important that people should remember my films 20 to 30 years down the line. I should be proud of doing a film. Money will come and go, what matters is what people say when they talk about you.
Watch Khan in ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’, which releases at cinemas worldwide on Friday 11th January.