One would never have imagined Imran in such a role. What made you cast him?Firstly, I love playing with actors’ images. And secondly, I saw potential in Imran after Delhi Belly (2011). We were both scared when I narrated the script. He asked me if I was sure about casting him. I said if I can direct a film without any training, then anybody can do anything. I have learnt everything on the job. But I loved his honesty. Only when you know your weaknesses can you work on them. He’s earnest and wants to prove himself. I have worked with many actors — Ajay (Devgn), Saif (Ali Khan) and Shahid (Kapoor) — but I had the best time with Imran.
Do you mean he was a better actor?That is a subjective term and I leave it to the audience. I am referring to the working experience. He didn’t come with preconceived notions, and he left everything to me. I could mould him the way I wanted. It’s the best thing an actor can do. And working with Pankaj Kapur isn’t easy. None of the others could have played Matru better than Imran. Taking on MKBKM is a big step for Imran. The film might be a turning point in his career.
Do you feel the responsibility?I hope Matru takes him into a different league. People used to tell me that I had made a mistake by casting Imran, but he has proved everyone wrong. He has not only spoken like a true Haryanvi, but adapted the body language as well.
How is it working with young actors like Anushka Sharma?I mature as a director when I work with young actors. They are eager to learn and experiment.