IMRAN KHAN

Mere-Brother-Ki-DulhanQ: When you heard about the script the first time, what was your reaction?

Imran: I think I was shooting for an ad or something and Adi called me and he said I have this script that I
think you would like and I think you would be very interested in it. It’s a new director…a guy called Ali
Abbas Zafar…I think this boy has a lot of promise and has a lot of potential and he has written a great
script and I would like you to meet him. So I was like, ‘sure I would love to.’ I met Ali like a day or two
later, he came to my house and we sat down and he said, ‘well Imran I have written this script and it’s
called ’Mere Brother ki Dulhan’…and right there I was like…eeeww…Anyway he went on and he told me
a basic outline. I don’t like to do narrations because I always tend to fall asleep in narrations…I like to
read a script…that’s how I understand them. So he gave me a two-minute/three-minute outline of the
film. This is the story…and this is the shaadi…and they are in this house and this that… I was listening
and I was like, ‘Dude…mere brother ki dulhan and this shaadi stuff …it sounds terrible’. So…I said ‘ok,
thanks man…great to meet you…very good…I’ll read the script and I’ll call you…and I sent him off
(chuckles). And I met my mom and Avantika that evening and they said, ‘so how was it?’ I said, ‘Dude its
terrible! What a horrible idea…Mere Brother ki Dulhan sounds terrible…I am not doing it.’ They
said, ‘Acha really’? I said, ‘yeah…yeah…no chance’. And I left the script with my mom and she happened
to read it that evening…I still hadn’t read it. And she called me the next morning and said, ‘Imran, this
script is hilarious. You have to read it…you have to do this film. So, I said, ‘Really, are you sure?’ she
said, ‘yeah…yeah….its damn funny…it’s the funniest thing I’ve read.’ So then I went over…I collected the
script and went home and sat down and thought, ‘Chalo now, let me give this a chance… so I sat and
started reading and literally 5-10 pages in…I was laughing…15-20 pages in, I was laughing even more and
that sustained. It’s very rare for a film to be funny all the way through. Very often, films start off funny
and then they get emotional and all of this heavy drama and stuff starts coming in and in the second half
you get bored. But this film managed to keep the humor and hold on to it all the way through, right till
the end. So all the way through you are laughing and you are having fun. And I thought that was great. I
called Ali that evening and I said, ‘Listen dude…I had some reservations but I love your script…I think it’s
great and I am on board.’ And from then on it was incredible how quickly everything fell into place. I
think literally a month after I read the script we were doing rehearsals, we were doing pre-production
and after about 1.5-2 months after our first meeting, we were shooting.

Q: What was the special thing about the character of Kush Agnihotri that got you excited?

Imran: I have always been somehow drawn to characters who are close to life. I don’t enjoy… I don’t
know for whatever reason I don’t like to play larger-than-life characters. I like to play characters that I
can relate to; that I feel other people can relate to that anyone can look at and say that, ‘yeah, that’s
me.’ You know, any guy on the street would be able to look at the character and say, either that I am
like this guy or I know a guy like this…my brother is like this…my friend is like this…I like my characters

to be relatable and that’s what I found in this situation because the situation these characters are in
is ridiculous…it’s crazy. It’s a very crazy and weird situation. But the way that they are dealing with it
and what they are actually doing…their reaction…their emotional reaction to it is very real. It’s very
genuine… it’s very authentic and that’s what I like; that you can still have a normal guy put into this crazy
situation. I found that interesting. I found that it gave it grounding.

Q: Tell us who is Kush Agnihotri.

Imran: Kush Agnihotri is a very simple, standard, average kind of a guy. He is a boy from a small town;
he is from Dehradun. Actually, Ali, our director is from Dehradun, so I think as I understood it over the
course of making the film, Ali has put a lot of himself into this character – based on where the character
comes from, the way he dresses; overall his outlook on life is very similar to Ali’s. So my character Kush
is from Dehradun, he’s grown up there and since then he’s moved to Bombay and is working in films.
Now he’s become an AD in films which is actually just a backdrop you know…the majority of the story
takes place in North India – in Dehradun, in Delhi, in Agra and it’s how this normal guy gets stuck in a
situation that he doesn’t entirely know how to deal with and he finally has to resort to his wit and his
intelligence. I found it very nice that Ali wrote a character who never resorts to doing anything wrong or
anything bad. Whatever situation comes up, he feels that he can deal with it in a correct way and that
he can deal with it in an intelligent and witty way. That’s also actually where most of the humour comes
from…the way that these characters deal with the situation; but to me that was appealing, that it’s a guy
who never loses sight of what is correct and what is the right thing to do.

Q: What was the kind of preparation that was done during pre-production – from your end and from
the team?

Imran: I have always liked to work a lot with the director before I start a film because I feel the director
and the writer, in this case they are one and the same person, the director has the best idea of who
this character is and really the easiest thing that you can do is to just sit and talk to the director and he
will tell you everything. Because he has lived with it for so long, he has written the various drafts of the
script, he has worked out everything – on the look, on the way the character will speak, on who is who–
and the director has all of this material with him, so you just have to sit there and he will give it to you.
That makes an actor’s job so much easier. And in this case, since Ali has based so much of the character
on himself, a lot of my preparation was just sitting and talking to Ali and seeing how he is- how does
he speak, how does he dress – simple things, when I was working with the stylist, I would notice what
kind of a watch Ali is wearing, what kind of shoes does he wear every day. So I would see consistently,
every 3-4 days, acha does he change shoes, what kind of shoes does he wear, what kind of watch does
he wear, how does he dress… so I would try to take pieces of that and put it into the character. I’d try
and listen to the way that he speaks because people from North India…there’s a very fluid way that they
speak Hindi and that has always been a major weakness of mine so this is something that I tried to pick
up. I would listen to the way that Ali speaks…I would make a conscious effort to speak more Hindi so
that I could kind pick up his flow… I think I have done an okay job with it.

Q: You had a serious session of script-reading with your other cast members, the two guys who play
your friends in the film. How did that go?

Imran: I feel that a major part of the chemistry on-screen depends on off-screen chemistry. You know,
unfortunately I have been in situations in life where I have had to turn up sometimes and you have
to shoot with people who you have not met before and you are supposed to be friends or this one
is supposed to be your girlfriend or your mother and the first day you meet is the day that you are
shooting and that always, I feel, never comes out as well as it could. I mean sure, you might both be very
good actors, you might work very hard and you might get something good but it’s not great. I feel that
it’s not as good as it could be. Here, I was fortunate that all of us got to sit together and we got to do
rehearsals, we got to do readings and we got to kind of play off each other and figure out at least a little
bit of each other’s style and we managed to get a little bit of rhythm going between all of us…all of us
figured out what each other’s zone is. I figured out how Tariq (Vasudeva) speaks, what is his pattern; I
figured out Zeeshan’s (Mohd. Zeeshan) style and I kind of fit into that which I guess is the case with all
friends; everyone has a space that they are in.

Q: Did you get a chance to read with Katrina before the shoot?

Imran: Unfortunately, Katrina and I never actually got to read together before I arrived on set because I
started shooting before she did, she had some earlier commitments. So when I arrived on set, I started
shooting with the other characters and Katrina came in a few days later. But once she came in, before
we started shooting, in the evenings we would sit together and we would rehearse. So I was very glad
that at least we got the chance to do that. Perhaps not as much as we should have done and, as I would
have liked, but it’s better than nothing.

Q: This is the first time you will be seen with Katrina. There have been occasions before when you
were supposed to do films together but things didn’t work out…

Imran: Katrina and I have almost worked together a couple of times in the past. At one point, I think,
both of us had even come on board together for a film and unfortunately there were various problems
and the film never took off. So it was always these near-misses and I had always really looked forward
to working with her. I thought there was something very interesting…very exciting about her as an actor
and she was someone that I wanted to work with but somehow that “correct” thing never came up.
So I was surprised by how quickly and easily this fell into place. Because as I said, I read the script and
two months after I read the script, I was on the sets and I was shooting. So it was a very quick process. I
found, you know, she is quite a mystery this girl (laughs) because the first time I met her, she was very,
very sweet, very polite; ‘hi…how are you’ and then that was it and I think it took a couple of weeks of
being around her, interacting with her, talking with her before these…barriers….would kind of open up.
And once I got to know her, I realized she is actually a very, very chilled out person…she is very non-
actor like…she is very non-starry…she doesn’t have that vibe around her. She is just someone who is
reserved and takes a little bit of time to open up and some time to warm up to people but once that
happens, she is great.

Q: How did it all work out…working on sets with her?

Imran: I think Katrina and I approached scenes very differently. I mean that’s fine; every actor has a
style of working. Katrina will spend the entire night as far as I know, she doesn’t sleep – she will spend
the entire night, sitting and working on the dialogues, memorizing it and figuring it out, how she is
going to do it. She’ll come on sets in the morning and again she’ll be ‘tak-tak-tak’ …I mean it works

tremendously for her. She’s incredible on-screen… you watch her on-screen and it looks sparkly, alive,
spontaneous…the fact is that she works very hard; she puts a lot of rehearsals into it. With me, I sit
and I memorize the lines but I don’t work out the way that I am going to do it. So I have the dialogues
in my head but then based on what my co-actor’s doing, what my director is telling me, I figure out
how I am going to play that just as we are doing it. The two of us would approach it very differently
but I think it works out well. Also in this case, she is playing a much louder character than me. She is
playing a character that is very exuberant, who speaks very fast, who speaks very loudly and very often
my character is very taken aback by her and he is caught off-guard. You know, she is saying something
weird and I have to be caught unawares. So it worked out well, that she would do something and I could
actually react to that.

Q: Let’s talk about a particular scene where the director wanted her to slap you and it turns out that
you were slapped more than the required number of takes…

Imran: There’s this scene just before interval, it’s the pre-interval scene. It’s actually a very good scene
and I am very happy with the way that it has turned out. It’s a very emotionally charged scene and
at the end of the scene she is supposed to give me one tight slap. It was actually a very simple shot
because we’d done the rest of the scene and it was just this one insert of this slap. And for reasons that
I never quite understood, we ended up doing about 16/17 takes of that. I have never done that many
takes of anything in my life. I am not quite sure why it happened because I didn’t really have much
to do…I had to say a line and then get slapped and she didn’t have a line…( thinks) why did it take so
many takes for that? (Smiles). Anyway, so we’ve done about 16/17 takes of this and each time Katrina’s
slapping me…like full ghoom ke…like from here-to-here…it’s not even like a half-slap. Phatt! All the way
across, from ear to jaw. And finally we got this thing done…I’ve partially lost hearing in this ear (pointing
towards his left ear) and we pack up for the night. It was a night shoot and the next evening we came in
and I’m told that we have to shoot this part of it again because Katrina’s not happy with it. As you can
imagine, I was thrilled (sarcastically). I was looking forward to more…so we went into it yet again with
even more slaps!

Q: There was a rifle in contention…

Imran: I was entirely innocent in that incident. I think that shot is actually in the trailer where Katrina has
a gun and she slams me against the wall. So I am against the wall and (gesturing)… I am holding the gun
like this and saying, ‘where have you got this gun from?’ …now it’s quite a straightforward shot…she is
holding the gun and I am holding it and she pushes me against the wall and I stop like this. So she has
pushed me back and I have hit the wall, then the gun has come and stopped over here (gesturing near
his neck); now any sane, logical, reasonable person would also stop like this but Imran hits the wall, the
gun stops and Katrina Kaif going into the gun, face first! I thought it was hilarious but she didn’t think it
was that funny (smiles). Anyways, shooting stopped, her nose swelled up, it became roughly the size of a
peach which is a small fruit but is big for a nose.

Q: Now the other fantastic actor that co-stars in this movie happens to be Ali Zafar.

Imran: You know…after I read the script and I went in to have my first meeting with Adi and director
Ali to say that I am on board…I want to do the film…a very serious thing that I’d said was…’listen
the character of my brother Luv…Bhaisaab…is a very, very important character…is a very good

character…it’s a very well-written character.’ I was afraid that we should not end up with an actor who
does not suit it…an actor who will not do the role well. Very often there’s a tendency in films ke…once
hero-heroine mil gaye…then people don’t really care about the rest of the casting…their friends…this
one…that one…anyone gets cast. And I feel that damages the film very badly. So, I spoke to both of them
that ‘listen we have to have someone very, very good for this part because it’s a very funny role…he’s
got very, very funny lines and he’s my elder brother and he’s a guy who is more stylish than me…more
cooler than me…he’s more suave than me. And so somewhere you have to have that sense that this is
the older brother…this is the guy who is…somewhere… in some sense, he is the guy you cannot be.’ You
know, he’s got a way with the ladies…he is very charming…he is this…he is that…you have to actually
get that feeling and so I brought it up that we have to get someone damn good for this…who are we
thinking of? And Ali, director, said I am thinking of Ali Zafar, actor. Probably, I’ll clarify that we have Ali
Abbas Zafar, who is our director and Ali Zafar, who is playing my brother in the film which led to a lot
of confusion on the sets; sometime you would call Ali and two guys would turn up and I fear that it’s
going to lead to a lot of confusion in promoting the film as well. So, for purpose of clarity, I will say Ali –
director or Ali – actor. So, Ali – director says he is thinking about Ali Zafar. Now, I had not actually seen
Ali’s film, ‘Tere Bin Laden’ but I had heard great stuff…Avantika had seen the film and had said that this
guy is great…he’s a damn good actor so I was really hoping that Ali would agree to do the film. And Ali
– director contacted Ali – actor…as I understand it…their first conversation was on the phone and Ali
narrated the script to Ali (holds head) Ali – director narrated the script to Ali – actor over Skype because
Ali – actor was abroad and Ali – director was in Bombay and for whatever reasons they couldn’t meet
face-to-face. So they sat and they’ve done a video conference on Skype and Ali- director has narrated
to him and Ali’s (actor) agreed to do the film over Skype. True story (smiles). I found…firstly, Luv’s
character in the film has some of the best…some of the funniest lines in the film because he’s a slightly
flighty character. He’s a guy who treats every situation with this kind of dead pan humor which I love; I
think it’s hilarious.

Q: How was it performing scenes with him? For he is someone who is not a traditional actor, he is a
musician first and then took to acting. So how was it working with him?

Imran: You know, Ali himself says that he is primarily not an actor that he is a singer; he is a musician
and who has kind of moved into acting and now become an actor. But I don’t know…I never saw any
hint of that…I never saw even the slightest indication that he was uncomfortable in any way. I found him
to be very, very comfortable, very easy, very effortless actor who just kind of breezed through it (snaps
his fingers). I thought that he was hilarious in the film…I think he’s done a spectacular job and he is going
to get a lot of accolades…a lot of recognition for the work that he has done in the film. I never saw the
slightest indication of discomfort.

Q: Do you remember any scene where he cracked up while shooting?

Imran: Ali and I were unable to somehow work with each other without cracking up or without laughing.
For the record, it was always his fault and not mine because something would happen and he would
start laughing and he would point the finger at me and say, ‘you’re making me laugh’ and everyone
knows I’m not funny and it couldn’t have been me that was making him laugh, yet somehow he would
just keep cracking up and this always happened late at night…it would always happen around 3 o’clock

– 4 o’clock in the morning…we’ve been shooting, everyone’s tired…everyone is sleepy…it’s the last
2-3 hours…you have until 6 o’clock… 6.30 is when the sun begins to come up and that is when you
have to stop shooting and invariably at around 3-4 o’clock Ali would start cracking up and point at me
saying, ‘Imran’s making me laugh’ and then of course I would also start laughing and in fact, I am sure
there must have been lots and lots of takes that we are not able to use in the film because somewhere
in the middle of it one of us has started laughing, generally him because he always started laughing…not
me.

Q: Let’s talk about some of the locations where the movie was shot in…the film is based in North India
was shot in many real locations…

Imran: The film is kind of spread out over a lot of north India. We’ve shot in so many locations…we
started off shooting in Pataudi…we’ve shot in Dehradun…we’ve shot in Mussoorie, we’ve shot in
Chandigarh, we’ve shot in Delhi, we’ve shot in Agra…this entire heartland of North India…we’ve
travelled so much…we’ve shot in some of the most incredible locations. I think a major part of the fun
that I’ve had while shooting was just getting to travel to these places where perhaps I would not have
gotten to go before. We’ve shot in Nabha, which is near Patiala…everyone knows Patiala…nobody
knows about Nabha…so, there’s a very, very beautiful haveli over there that we’ve actually cheated for
Agra. The location is in Nabha but we’ve pretended that it’s Agra. I got to meet great people and the
food…I think everyone probably knows this about me…I am a great foodie – I love food, I love to eat.
Particularly travelling through North India….travelling through Punjab…the food that we were getting to
eat in these places was unreal. I am very fortunate that I don’t put on weight…I don’t have that problem.
I ate everything that I could get my hands on. With the kinds of dals, rotis, tandoor stuff…it was just
unbelievable. I think we should go back.

Q: Often there were scenes where you had to be out there in the public places…you were on the roads
riding a scooter…how was that…let us talk about the experience of riding a scooter actually?

Imran: Riding the scooter in this film was easily one of the worst experiences of my life. Firstly, I do not
know how to ride a scooter, at all. This didn’t seem to be a problem to anyone; for whatever reason,
it was not felt I need to train or something…they were like, ‘don’t worry…you’ll be fine…you’ll learn’.
So, I arrived on sets…it was explained to me that ‘this is one brake here…this is the clutch…you have
to turn this…ye woh hai…’ So, I think for reasons of authenticity or what…they had got one of the
original scooter models…one of the first few models that were made when they invented the scooter.
As you can imagine, it’s not held up well overtime. There were no indications, no markings…you cannot
tell what gear you are in…you have to actually remember what gear you are in, that’s the only way.
Incidentally, you also have to remember your dialogues and your…kya kehte hai use…your acting thing.
I feel a major part of the movie was based on the scooter for every second day I used to go on the sets
and they would be like ‘Sir aapka scooter…’ Never again. From now on I shall do films where I have
Ferraris!

Q: So while you were driving a scooter with Katrina bouncing around all the time, there were also
thousands and thousands of people that kept shouting and following you. How does an actor
maintain concentration?

Imran: You know there’s always a trade-off…I feel that when you shoot a film in a real location and
not on a set…if you actually shoot on a street…shoot in a real house it adds a lot to the film…it looks
better…it gives it more believability. You know people can always tell when something is a set…it
looks like a set and I never really liked the look of that. So, when you shoot on the streets and you are
actually driving a bike, driving a scooter, driving a car down the street and you have natural sunlight
and real buildings in the background, it looks great. The trade-off is that you will get a lot of people who
will come and stand and watch the shooting and unfortunately we can never ask people to be quiet.
So everyone who stands over there will be like, ‘Ay Katrina!’ Imran Khan.. hey!’ and you’re turning
around and like, ‘Sssh! We’re trying to do a dialogue…trying to do a scene…film ka climax hai’…how
do you explain to someone and how do you explain to 300 people that we are shooting the climax of
the film, it’s a very emotional moment and I need to get my concentration right so can you please stop
screaming? Somehow you can’t get that message across…so it’s damn tricky man! And particularly when
you are shooting the climax part of the film, it’s the last scene, we are driving in this convertible car…we
are driving down the road and without exaggeration, by no means am I exaggerating, there were at least
500 people who had turned up over there. Everyone came on bikes and they were driving their bikes
alongside our car…the entire thing. And they were screaming and they were honking; so you have the
sounds of a 100-200 motorcycles, the engine; you have two people sitting on the bike, all are screaming
and saying, ‘Katrina! Katrina Kaif!’ and honking (laughs) and in the middle of all of this you have to try
and remember your lines. It’s very difficult.

Q: There was another occasion when you were shooting in Dehradun on the station…
Imran: The Dehradun train station was mental…it comes just after the title song…you have the
song ‘Mere Brother ki Dulhan’ that traces Kush’s journey from Bombay to Dehradun and the song ends
on the train to Dehradun and it finally ends with him pulling up on to Dehradun station. And the shot
where I arrive at the station and I am walking out of the station and getting into the car, we’ve shot
actually at Dehradun station. And that day was possibly a National Holiday or something happened
but all of Dehradun…every human being who lives in Dehradun turned up at the train station. So
they gathered around the street, they blocked the street and no cars could go. They climbed up and
they covered the entire roof of Dehradun station and it’s a very old station…the building is very old
and I was looking up and I was just praying that that roof doesn’t collapse for if it were to collapse,
easily around 50-100 people would have fallen of. So I was watching there…I got the mike and I was
like ‘please…please behnon, bhaiyon…please neeche aa jaiye…please do not climb up there…bahut
khatarnak ho sakta hai’. ‘Arey Imran bhai kya khatra hai…kuch nahi hai…this…that…’ nobody was
listening. And before each shot, because everyone is cheering, we have to stand up and wave at
everyone, ‘hi…hi…’ and go ‘sssh!’ to ask them to be quiet and quickly roll camera and do the shot and
the second he called ‘cut’, everyone would clap ‘very good…very good’… hala ki kuch khas kaam kiya
nahi…the shot is me walking and getting to the car, ‘very good shot…very good shot’ and everyone is
cheering. It’s damn funny!

Q: Let’s talk about the crew members that you were working alongside…you had Sudeep Chatterjee
and Bosco and Caesar…let’s talk about them.
Imran: You know what audiences don’t really realize…what they don’t pay much attention to is that film-
making is entirely a team effort. People watch the film and they say, ‘haan ye hero hai…ye heroine
hai’…somehow it doesn’t really go beyond that for most people and for those who work in the industry
know how little we do and how much other people do. Ultimately, if I am acting, I am saying lines that
someone else has written; I am doing it in a way that my director is telling me to do; the way that I look
is because of the people that are styling me, the kind of clothes that are given me, it is the work of the
cinematographer, the cameraman who will light me correctly and make sure that I look good and it is
very important that you have these people and that these people are good. Because if you have a bad
cinematographer, the most beautiful person in the world will look bad; if you have a bad costume
designer, you will look like a cartoon, you will look like an idiot; so… on this film, fortunately we had a
very good team…a very strong team of technicians who have supported us…who have kind of elevated
the film…they’ve taken it from (gesturing with hands from bottom to top) here to here.
Sudip Chatterjee is a very, very accomplished cinematographer; funnily enough I have come close to
working with him too a couple of times before. I think on two of my previous films, he was approached
to work on those films and for whatever reason, I think, he had other commitments or date problems
and he couldn’t be on the film. So I had spoken with him and I met him and we had a discussion at that
point, so finally when he signed on for this film, I called him up and said, ‘Sir I am so happy to be working
with you.’ He got damn embarrassed. But I think we have actually become very close friends while
making this film. I found him to be a person who is tremendously funny…someone who I like a lot…so
he’s become a good friend. Apart from that, in the past, I have done a fair amount of work with Bosco
and Caesar and I credit Bosco tremendously with actually showing me and teaching me how to dance. I
am not naturally much of a dancer…I am not very good at it…I don’t have that skill naturally and I
worked with Bosco a lot on ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ and particularly the title song of ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ and I
think that is the song that got me to figure out how do you do a song, how do you dance. So I was
always very grateful to Bosco for that and on this film we’ve taken it from (gesturing with hands from
bottom to top) here to there. This film has 8 songs, out of which, I think at least 5 or 6 of them are lip-
sync songs which means we had to rehearse them, we had to work out the dance…it was nuts! It was
madness. And with each song, Bosco would come up with these new things saying, ‘Imran now we’ll try
something new…now we’ll try this’ and every time I would tell him, ‘Bosco I can’t do it…I can’t do it…I
can’t do it’ and he would say, ‘No you can. you can…’ and finally it turns out that I could do it but yeah a
lot of work had to go into it and I think that is something I will always be grateful to Bosco for getting me
to do that.

Q: Imran we’ll go over the songs, music and picturization very briefly. Let’s start with the song
Choomantar.
Imran: it’s a song that I heard in a very rough…very kacha version and in that rough version it had

seemed a little odd to me. I heard it and I was like, ‘I don’t know…I can’t see it’. And Ali saw it and he
said it is going to be a damn cool song and this is what I am going to do with it and I said ‘okay fine that’s
your space’. And when I heard the entire thing come together, that’s when I saw it and that’s when I
realized that Ali was on the right track. The idea of Choomantar… firstly, I love the title of the song…I
love the ‘Choomantar’ and I am amazed that nobody has come with such a song before. The song
comes at a point in the film where Katrina’s character Dimple is starting to feel a little overwhelmed
you know with all the shaadi ki tayariyan, preparations and all of the stuff that’s happening …is starting
to feel a little overwhelmed…she is starting to feel as though she is going to say goodbye to her life
and that her life is going to change now once she is married. So we kind of make an agreement that we
will disappear…’Choomantar’ and we will live life exactly the way that she used to live life in college.
We’ll go out, we’ll have fun, we’ll party and we’ll generally be free from this entire marriage thing for
a while. So, the song goes into that…’Choomantar… ho aaja chal gum ho jaye’…let us disappear…let us
stay far away from the world…the lyrics kind of convey that and it’s a very smooth… a very freewheeling
song. It’s a song with very little lip-sync in it…I think there are just one or two parts where it’s lip-sync.
It’s more kind of a montage treatment song where you see the story progressing. You see these two
characters having fun; you see them bonding a little more and you start to get little bit of a sense of the
relationship that they share..of what is developing between the two of them.

Q: This was picturised over a lot of seasons…in many different places.

Imran: You know the shooting of the song, ‘Choomantar’ was spread out over so many different places
because since it’s a montage song you don’t have to just shoot it one place and get it over with. So
we’ve actually shot parts of it in Dehradun, parts of it in Pataudi, parts of it in Chandigarh, parts of it in
Delhi, we’ve shot parts of it in Bombay. So, it was crazy. This is a song that is like the soundtrack of the
film. It is running all the way through our shooting. So we’d shoot one day in Delhi for Choomantar and
then we’d go with the film, shoot other stuff and then we’d be in Chandigarh and then again we’d shoot
one day of Choomantar and then again you move on. Then you’re in Agra and you’d shoot one day. It
was like wherever we turned up we’d take few shots for Choomantar. So every couple of days we are
back to shooting Choomantar which is weird…it was hard to maintain continuity.

Q: Let’s briefly talk about ‘Isq Risk’

Imran: Isq Risk, funnily enough was my first day of shooting for the film. The first shot that I’ve done
for the film was for Isq Risk and it’s a brilliant song. I mean firstly, just the idea of it…what the song is
talking about – it comes at the moment in the film where my character Kush has realized that he is in
love with Dimple and mostly the film is a comedy…it’s a funny film all the way through…there’s just a
short moment in the film where it gets a little emotional…where you get the sense of…where you feel

bad. And this song comes at that moment. I am a sucker for songs like this. I mean these are the songs
that I love. I love songs that have emotions in them…that make you feel something…and this song gets
that…the idea of it…the feeling. So, in the kind of treatment…in the kind of picturisation that Ali has
given it, you get that sense; you get the feeling of…that this is also a real situation. We are treating
with humor, we are doing it in a funny way but there’s real emotion here. What Rahat has done with
the singing, with the vocalization of it, is that he has brought in that sense of struggle…that sense of
dard…that sense of pain. Rahat is just a phenomenal singer…he is a tremendously accomplished singer
and he manages to do this very well. He manages to bring feeling into his singing and for an actor it just
makes your job so much easier. If you’re playing a scene and you can hear the song and you can hear the
emotions in it…you can hear the feeling and the singer has done half your work for you. So, it’s a great
blessing to have such a strong backing.

Q: There is this one particular sequence where you are dressed as Prince Salim and Katrina as Anarkali
and you have shot in front of the Taj Mahal with around 5000 people present…

Imran: In the middle of this entire emotional, sad song there’s this one moment where Ali has to bring
his standard, signature touch which is that little flourish of humor. As a person, Ali is a very funny guy
who is kind of ruled by his sense of humor and he has to put that in, here and there. So, this one little
moment in this song which we have shot on the banks of the Yamuna, right in front of the Taj is where
we are dressed up in this Mughal attire; I am decked as Salim, Katrina is dressed as Anarkali and we
are doing this…I mean if you’ve seen the video, you know the moments that I am talking about but
these are moments that are actually damn funny. And while we are shooting in Agra, suddenly there is
this…again half the population in Agra has turned up to watch the shooting. Everyone was over there
and they are watching and you can hear what people are talking about. People were confused as to ki
kya ho raha hai…kaisi picture ban rahi hai because they’ve heard a little bit about the film…you know
where we are shooting some stuff in normal, modern-day clothes and they’ve seen photos of that in
the newspaper and then suddenly here we are in this Mughal get-up so people are talking and they are
confused, ki acha kya hai ye…period ka hai ki nahi flashback sequence rahega…pichle janam ka this kind
of background… people are all speculating and trying to figure out what is going on…it was the funniest
thing.

Q: Let’s move on to one of the more fun songs of the film where you and Ali have to dance your
hearts out on Madhubala…

Imran: I think Madhubala is a spectacular song. It’s one of those songs that you know I heard just 30-40
seconds of and I said, ‘Arey this is a super-hit song’. It’s incredible. And then came the dance rehearsals.
As everyone knows, I am not a natural dancer. I have to work very hard. Ali – the actor, is worse than
me it turns out. And Katrina is a dream. You can show Katrina one step and she’ll do the entire thing
better than the choreographer and on the side you have me and Ali, two of us idiots who are not able
to remember one step. So they had a separate team training us and they had a separate team training

Katrina. Katrina’s rehearsals would be 30 – 45 minutes and she’d be done and she would go, perfect,
done… Ali and I would rehearse for 4-5 hours…trying to learn…trying to get the steps…trying to do this
thing…making utter fools of ourselves. It was very embarrassing and it was very painful because two of
us would be dancing with Katrina and she would just be doing it so well and we’re looking at her and
we’re looking at each other and we’re going, ‘Yaar, we are losers!’ Still it’s a fun song. The picturisation
is great…it’s hilarious. It’s a situation where the entire family gets very high on bhang. It’s a very popular
thing in North India, particularly UP. So we stop at this roadside dhaba, everyone drinks bhang and
everyone starts dancing wildly. So it’s meant to be high energy, high excitement and we are shooting in
this dusty, hot dhaba, dying of heat and dehydration but I love the picturisation. I think the song looks
like so much fun and Ali and I look…not bad huh… we look okay (smiles).

Q: In this film you also have many senior actors such as Mr. Parikshit and Mr. Kanwaljeet and even
you are even seen in the get up of a senior citizen. Would you like to elaborate on that?

Imran: I have always believed that when you work with very good actors, it makes you work better.
Firstly, it improves you as an actor; secondly, it also makes the scene look better. If you’re working
with a very bad actor as sometimes I have, it drags the scene down. And you’re working with a damn
good actor; it adds so much more, it gives you so much to play with. I had a fair amount of scenes with
Parikshit saab (Parikshit Sahni), who is playing my father in the film. He is a very senior, experienced
and a very accomplished actor. So he brought a sense of ease and gravity to it because you can tell
that he knows what he is doing. He can just walk on the set and he knows what to do…he knows what
he is doing. And since he knew that we are doing a comedy, a funny film, he tweaked his performance
in that way and he came up with some hilarious reactions, some hilarious moments. There’s this one
sequence in particular, where I am in disguise – I am dressed up as a maulvi so I have this long white
hair, white beard and I have a pillow stuffed down to give me a pot-belly and he and I come face-to-face
with one another. And he is feeling that there’s something off about this character and he is my father
so he obviously has a very good chance of recognizing me so I have to avoid being recognized. So I had
to catch him and say, ‘aadab!’ and he says ‘aadab’. I have to do one more aadab and he does another
aadab and the way that he was racking the tension in that was hilarious. Because he would start with a
little surprise, then suspicion that this guy looks familiar but at the same time getting flustered because
the guy keeps saying aadab. So the way he built that graph up was just hilarious. And it was again one
of those moments where I would look at him during a scene and I would feel like cracking up…feel like
laughing. So I had to kind of hold that back.

Q: How did you feel under that get-up? How difficult was it?

Imran: I hate wearing stuff you know…you wear a wig, you wear stuff that adds on to…it adds so many
layers on you that suddenly you feel like you are hidden under it and you are not sure how much you
can emote, how much stuff you can put out. But at the same time, it adds something…visually…that
entire get up looks very funny. So even if you’re not doing something, someone can look at it and
just visually find it funny. So that is a trade-off. But invariably, I was wearing this heavy wig, heavy
moustache and beard, and this fat suit underneath to show all this weight and it was always in the
hottest locations. You know, 1 o’clock in the afternoon, hot sunlight and you have to wear this and you

are sweating and you are sweating so much that the moustache is coming off… so you have to keep
pressing it on and holding it on…it was crazy. But ultimately, the way that sequence has come out, it’s
worth every bit of it. I watched it and I think it’s genuinely funny.

Q: Let’s wind up. This film was shot in utter madness with people turning up in Delhi and Agra. Can
you sum it up in one go…what was the whole experience of this film? Why is it special t you?

Imran: This film is I think a major step in my career…in my working process. I am a quiet person…I am a
person who likes to underplay…generally much more reserved. And Ali as a director…his style…his taste
is much more flamboyant. And I feel that what Ali has managed to pull out of me in this film is perhaps
something that I didn’t think I could do…that I didn’t think I had in me. The style of it is much louder,
overplayed, the volume is turned up, the style of the dialogues, treatment, and the way everything is
done is much louder and I honestly didn’t think that I had that in me. And somehow Ali has brought
it out of me and I am amazed that I had that in me and I am amazed how Ali found those correct
buttons, correct switches and correct triggers to bring that out of me – I mean really that is what makes
a director. You bring something out of an actor. If the director‘s not bringing something new out of an
actor then why is he there? I might as well do work without a director. So that is what you are looking
for a guy to open you up. I am tremendously grateful to Ali for opening that side of me. Let’s see how
much further that goes…what more I can do but it is a major step for me.

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One Response to “IMRAN KHAN” »

  1. Comment by maziya — September 17, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    imran is looking handsome

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