Breaking the mould

Breaking the mould

New-age star

Adult comedy: A still from  ‘Delhi Belly’

Living in the shadow of a famous family is not easy. Expectations soar sky high and so do the chances of failure. It takes a lot of grit and talent to come out of the shadow, carve your own niche and be successful. That is what Imran Khan, better known as Aamir Khan’s nephew earlier, has done. He shot to fame with his first film, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, and is back in news, once again, for his forthcoming film Delhi Belly — another Aamir Khan production. Interestingly, in this film, Imran is moving away from his lover boy image and playing the role of a business tycoon.

If rumours are to be believed, Imran Khan was not the first choice for the film. Apparently, Ranbir Kapoor was asked to play the role; only after he declined did Aamir Khan sign up his nephew. Was it a well thought out decision? Did he want to break free from his romantic hero image? Imran Khan responds calmly, “I always make a conscious effort to be different in every film I do. Every role that I perform has to be different; redundancy in work is something I do not like. Moreover, our audience is changing, the films we are making are changing. Therefore, actors have to change as well. Gone are the days when only formulaic films would work. The audience wants a different story every time they visit a theatre.”

Imran pauses for a moment before stressing on his decision to do Delhi Belly, “This kind of script comes to you once in a lifetime and there was no way I could have not been a part of such a film.”

Different role

He goes on to explain how he decides to sign a film. “I have always opted for films based on three parameters — script, producer and director. If the script is boring, I don’t go ahead; if the producer does not have the capability to bear the burden of producing a film, I do not sign up, and last but not the least, the director. If I am not sure whether the director will be able to pull it off, I choose not to be a part of the project.”

Delhi Belly, like other Aamir Khan productions, has been in the news for some time now. Partly due to the marketing strategy and also because of its superhit yet controversial songs — Bhaag D K Bose and Ja chudail. But, despite being popular, the songs have received a lot of flak for their lyrics, especially because they include expletives. Many critics have trashed the songs as they send out a wrong message and are wrongfully marketed saying that they represent the pulse of today’s youth. Talk about this to Imran and he will defend his forthcoming film and its songs. “Songs are an integral part of any Hindi film and Delhi Belly is no exception. People are entitled to their opinion about the songs. But frankly, the D K Bose song as well as the other tracks of the film are apt and are created keeping the story in mind. Delhi Belly is an adult comedy and the songs are in sync with the theme of the film. For instance, Ja chudail is about a break-up. It’s a guy ranting, sharing his angst against a girl who breaks his heart. What else can you expect him to do?” reasons Imran.

This film and role seems to be unknown territory for Imran and his fans who will see him for the first time in such an avatar. Imagine Imran Khan cussing and doing action sequences; quite a change from his character Jay in I Hate Luv Storys or Abhay in Break Ke Baad. Although Imran has done two action-packed films — Kidnap and Luck — Delhi Belly seems different. “There are chances that people may not like this film. It has got an ‘A’ certificate and is made for a mature audience. In fact, this film was originally conceptualised and made in English. But after we had a look at it, we realised that we were restricting this film to a certain section of people. It had turned out to be a niche film; we did not want that. So we decided to make it in Hindi, to be able to reach out to a wider audience,” says Imran.

But, isn’t that a risk? Peepli [Live] received critical acclaim, no doubt, but for a mainstream hero isn’t it too much of a risk to take? “I was never scared while working on this film.

Any big game you play comes with certain risks. But I knew that we had Aamir mamu’s support, so we would do just fine,” adds Imran. Ask him the difference between Delhi Belly and the other films he has worked on and he cites one instance. “We have shot in places in Delhi where no one has shot, which gives the film a very unique look and appeal. Our locales were mostly in east Delhi — places like Subhash Nagar, Karol Bagh.

The entire film was shot in real locations, which gave us the chance to enjoy the famous street food of Delhi,” reminisces Imran.

Interestingly enough, the media has always been kind to Imran. Is that because he has mostly played on-screen characters that have portrayed him as ‘the good guy’? “I feel that the relationship between the media and a celebrity is like a marriage. Both need each other to grow and co-exist.” Perhaps, Imran is trying to preempt any kind of misunderstanding with the fourth estate — something that has been disturbing Aamir Khan.

The year 2011 seems to be packed for the young star. He will be seen in many films including Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Stand By Me (initially known as Short Term Shaadi). While the first one is opposite Katrina Kaif, the second one is with Kareena Kapoor. Mention this to the blue-eyed boy and his eyes light up immediately, “I am a big fan of Kareena. It has always been my dream to work with her.”

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