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Imran Khan: Happy to be compared to a talented person like Ranbir

August 14, 2013 14:33 IST

Imran Khan: Happy to be compared to a talented person like Ranbir

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Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

Imran Khan obviously loves red cars. 

As I enter his bungalow, situated in the posh Mumbai suburb of Bandra, I spot three of them parked inside the compound, including his prized Ferrari.

The bungalow, incidentally, belonged to his maternal grandfather Nasir Hussain, a prolific filmmaker. Since Hussain’s son Mansoor Khan lives in Connoor, Imran moved into the house last year after renovating it.

Imran and his wife Avantika’s love for art is evident from the many paintings in the living room.

One side of the room leads to an indoor swimming pool while the other side opens out to a big garden area.

In his makeshift office, Imran greets me with a big smile. Posters of Nasir Hussain’s films Teesri Manzil and Baharon Ke Sapne adorn the walls.

A room of the room is devoted to books -- from literature to fiction books, from Archies and Mad comics to books written on film folk like Dev Anand’s The Navketan Story: Cinema Modern.

Settling down with a cup of coffee, Imran chats about his new film Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara, which releases on August 15. The film has been directed by Milan Luthria, and co-stars Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha.

Imran tells Sonil Dedhia why he likes to be compared to Ranbir Kapoor and why he is scared of reviving the Nasir Hussain Films banner.

You play a gangster for the first time. Is your depiction different from the many other gangster characters in film?

The way Rajat Arora has written the script, I didn’t feel this is a gangster film at all. No doubt there is always a classic cliched touch in gangster films in Bollywood, which are very entertaining. But this isn’t that. 

I got into the character much easier than  I expected. While this does have the setting of the underworld, it’s a story of three individuals stuck in a love triangle.


Image: Imran Khan in a promotional event for Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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'My character doesn't do bhaigiri'

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Fans look up to actors as role models. Are you glorifying gangsters in this film?

I feel it's not fair that we tend to generalise a character based on his profession. If I play a lawyer tomorrow, that will only be the profession and not my character.

Here, my character doesn't do bhaigiri; in fact, we haven't even used that kind of language. He is a guy who has a sense of humour. While he will fight, steal, or even kill people if he has to, on the other hand he says he would rather make a friend than an enemy.

He has a catchphrase in the film, "Aslam ko samjhne ke liye dimag nahi dil lagta hai. (you need a heart, not brains, to understand Aslam)”


Image: Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan in OUATIMD

Tags: Aslam

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I don't think Akshay can steal my show

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How was it working with Akshay Kumar?

I really enjoyed working with Akshay. He is an actor who will work towards enhancing the film, his work and also his co-stars’ work.

I’ll give you an example. When we were doing the trailer launch, I was going to make an entry by riding a bike, as my character in the film does the same. Akshay told me, “Tu pagal ho gaya hai. Aise entry toh sab karte hai kuch alag sochna padega” (Are you mad? This is a very normal entry. We must think of doing something different). He made his bodyguard ride the bike and told me to stand up behind.

He is the one who designed my entry for the first promotional event in such a mesmerising manner. He goes out of the way to help his co-stars and better the film on the whole.

Akshay doesn’t have any aura of being a star.

What was the biggest challenge of working with him? Did you think at any point that his role is better than yours?

There wasn’t any challenge. In fact, as I said, he made my work easier. He is a very down-to-earth person. He sits down on the ground and chats with one and all. He wears chappals and moves around on the sets.

Also, I don’t think Akshay can steal my show if I am working with him. Yes, if I am a bad performer, I lose out. It was not difficult to share screen space with Akshay. I think we have our own space in the film and fans will enjoy watching us.


Image: Imran Khan and Akshay Kumar in OUATIMD


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'I will get offended when I am compared to a flop or untalented actor'

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You have danced to the remake of the famous Tayaab Ali song which was picturised on Rishi Kapoor in Amar Akbar Anthony.

I usually don't like the concept of re-makes. The song became a part of the film much later. We had almost finished the film but the song was still remaining as Milan (Luthria, director) did not like any of the songs written by Rajat Arora. He actually rejected 15 scratch versions of different songs.

Finally, he decided to buy the rights of the original song. I was very nervous when I did this iconic number.

When I recently met Rishi Kapoor, he complimented me on it. He was gracious enough to honour me and said that I did not have to fear as I had done a good job.

Your career has often been compared to Ranbir Kapoor’s. Does that bother you? 

No, it doesn’t matter to me. I am happy to be compared to a talented person like Ranbir. I will get offended when I am compared to a flop or untalented actor. 

Does criticism bother you?

I think in any field there will be criticism. There will always be people who don’t like my performance. I ignore the criticism that comes my way. The criticism should come from my director.


Image: Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor hosting the 54th Filmfare awards


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Are there any plans to revive your grandfather Nasir Hussain’s banner?

Emotionally, I would like to do it, but to be honest, it is a scary thought.

My grandfather was a very successful filmmaker. I am scared that if I make a film reviving his banner, and it doesn’t work, it will affect his name.

I don’t want to do something that will potentially damage his name. I am playing with his reputation, so I am scared of all this.

But there is definitely an intention to make a film. Production has become a natural progression. Every actor today is becoming a producer. I don’t know about production, but I surely want to write and direct a film.

Is it true that you are playing a Gujarati superhero in Vikramaditya Motwane’s next film?

Yes, things are in development with Vikramaditya, but I am not playing a Gujarati superhero.

I am very excited about this film. It is something I have not done in the past. We will make the announcement soon.


Image: Imran Khan in OUATIMD


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