Chit Chat

Both Aamir & Me don’t meet as often as we should: Imran Khan

We are meeting Imran Khan at his jazzed up bungalow, home to memorabilia and anecdotes from the past and present. His new Ferrari stands next to his first Zen, knickknacks from each of his films find pride of place as does an old transistor radio which his grandfather used. The place looks charmingly old-fashioned and refreshingly young – much like the man who has put it together.
Excerpts from the conversation:

Where have you been?
I am here to create awareness about the film. But once it’s done, I have no responsibility towards anyone. It feels so banal for me to pick my phone and tell my PR about my new haircut. I can’t think of sharing all this.

While your peers Ranbir, Arjun, Ranveer, Varun appear to be in a hurry to achieve a lot of things, you seem to be doing things at your own pace…
Last night, I was at Arjun’s party and all these names were there. I saw them and realised how different every guy is and how everyone wants something different from life. (Pauses) I told the birthday boy that I am working 25 days a month and we get to spend just a few days with close people. I don’t want to wake up and feel miserable about going to a set where I hate my co-stars, or don’t believe in the film I am working in. I want to be happy about who I am working with. It’s a calling, and each one of us looks at it differently.

You certainly don’t seem to have the urgency to grab more roles, endorsements, being in the spotlight.
See, the urgency is there when you like your work. Some people work for the wrong reason, the motivations are incorrect. I am not the kind of person who reads about an actor signing up with a certain director and feels bad about it. That is not how you should be motivated. So yes, I choose to be like this.

With Matru… not living up to expectations, were you disappointed?
Yes, it’s the film I put my most into, the toughest role I have done so far. So naturally it was upsetting. But as an actor, you have to be prepared for such things.

In Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, we hear you had a tough time coping with Akshay’s fitness regime while shooting in Oman.
(Smiles) Four in the morning doesn’t work for me! I would join him in the evening after pack-up. But physically, he is the strongest person I have met in my life. Just think about it. He can do 100 pull-ups at one go. I can barely do three or four. It was very painful.

Your character,Aslam, is very different from your image of a lover boy. How difficult was it to delve into this space?
When I went to meet Milan and Ekta for the first time, I was very sceptical. When I eventually sat down to read the script, every page after page blew me off. The stakes are high and the level of drama here is something I haven’t had in my earlier films. Besides, I underplay my performance so that the audience sits up and pays attention. I realised this when I saw the work of Aaron Sorkin – you don’t always need to pander to expectations. And that is why I picked up this project.

With both you and Aamir busy, how does the family manage to meet often?
We randomly bump into each other at events and we are like ‘arre you are in town?’ On birthdays and special events, we go to a ground and play soccer. We are a close-knit family but we don’t meet as often as we should.


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