Apart from his good looks, golden boy image and reputation, Imran Khan comes across as the most un-star-like of film stars. Imran is now in the enviable position for Indian actors of being able to choose his roles, with a bit of perfection I suppose. And the fact that he is only known by his first film's success, this young protege has a lot on his shoulders at this present moment. First up - he needs a big commercial boomerang. Second - he needs to believe and fall in love again. Get that? Thanks to Sonam Kapoor, we are sure she'll be of much help and assistance to get him back on track. With just less than a month left for the release of I Hate Luv Stories, this correspondent chats up with the man who thinks that love sucks and so does Bollywood. If you're a smart alec, you'll get it. For the time being, you ponder. Over to the sucker for films.
You hate love stories?
I don't. But my character in the film does (laughs). He hates the idea of love and romance. Yes, I have grown up watching love stories and we all have. So there is no way I will ever hate any love story. In the film, my idea and Sonam's idea clash over what love is. She never tries to justify why she likes love stories. I have my point of view and she has hers. It's like two people who are working together think differently. As a result of us spending time together and being together, Sonam changed my opinion on love and I changed hers.
Did you guys laugh out loud while doing cheesy romantic scenes?
We laughed out loud while making this film and doing a few scenes. We literally stopped in the middle of our shoot and said to each other, "I can't believe that we are doing this." There are witty moments, there are cheesy moments but at the end of the day, the audience is still seeing a romantic film and they will have no option but to root for the couple.
How is it working with young and like minded directors?
I am very clear about my work. It's not about the age as much as it is about the outlook in life and the mind set. I am very interested in working with people who I get on with. I want to look back in my life and say that I am happy that I worked with these people. Whatever film they have done and I have been a part of. To a great extent, when you are happy working with these people, we kind of try and take a personal interest in the film which results in better overall output.
Do you ever sit with the writer of your film to discuss the scenes and the screenplay out?
In this case, Punit has written and directed the film himself. But yes, I try and sit with the writer of the film to understand his writing. I make it a point to do that. Punit the writer wanted to sit with us and do rehearsals and reading sessions. As a writer, he could then understand how we actors could bring his written characters to life. He could then polish them and sketch it and alter it according to his use. Then the same director in him takes the front seat and locks the scene.
Did you guys go on real locations and rehearse the scenes?
Shooting and rehearsing in real locations is very difficult as the location budget is very high. So as a result, we do reading sessions and workshops. Punit wanted to shoot in real locations and did not want to build sets. We were shooting the film in restaurants, shops, etc. But because we had finalised the shooting locations, it made us look at the pictures and think of a scene in totality.
Karan is getting younger with each film, isn't he? And more real too.
It's a Dharma Production film and Karan has always believed in putting the best and giving the best to his team. When Karan made Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, it was considered to be very cool. He somehow got the cutting edge to his films. Karan wants his films to look cool, young and fresh and that's what we took lobbying to. It has Manish Malhotra designing the outfits for the film. A two decade experienced designer will put his best foot forward. That's a challenge. Punit and I are on one end of the spectrum and Manish is on the other end. So we try and balance each other out (laughs). Manish would get all the best outfits for us and some expensive designer jeans and Punit and I would rip it off. That made it even more real.
(Laughs) Good one. The t-shirt I wear 'Bollywood Sucks' was supposed to be used as a merchandise to promote I Hate Luv Storys. We haven't yet zeroed in on that thought. But it was me who gave this idea to Punit to use it to promote the film.
Was it fun pulling Sonam's leg off and on the sets?
Oh yes. I Hate Luv Storys was very much a boys club. Punit and I got on like house on fire. Add to that the assistant directors and all were boys too. The film is a rom-com for boys and not as much for girls. I Hate Luv Storys is told from a guy's perspective and that's why it makes the film even more interesting. It's like being dumped by several girlfriends and then saying, "I Hate Love Stories."
Are you working with Sanjay Gadhvi in Seven Days in Paris?
I was supposed to work with Sanjay Gadhvi in Seven Days in Paris but I am not working in it any more. It was a Studio 18 film. Hits and flops are going to happen to any director, but what matters is how you judge a director. I judge them in consistency. You judge them overall.
Is Imran Khan a changed actor today?
Imran Khan has changed. This is the first time I have watched my film on screen and am happy with my work. Jaane Tu... was a success but I wasn't happy with it as a performer. That doesn't mean that I am not happy with the film. But I Hate Luv Storys has made me believe that I am finally satisfied with my performances.