Imran Khan, who is preparing for his first gangster role in Milan Luthria’s sequel to Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010), is determined to play the part convincingly. That is why the actor, with his driver and spot boy as his guides, plans to make incognito visits to areas like Dongri in Mumbai, and observe the lives of the residents up close.
“Since our lives are so different and our experiences are only based on what we read or see in the movies, I want to spend time in these localities without acting like a tourist to understand my character and the world he lives in better. Most gangster movies are cool and stylised, but the heart’s not in it,” reasons Imran.
“A diction coach can only get you so far. To understand the subtle nuances of the language and the mannerisms that set the people apart, it’s necessary to imbibe the local colour. That’s why I want to visit these so-called taporis, not all of whom are gangsters, before starting Milan’s film,” he adds. The actor isn’t new to research of this sort as he spent a month-and-a-half in Delhi interacting with boys from Rothak, before he started shooting for Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola, to get his Haryanvi accent right.
Interestingly, in his efforts to be realistic, Imran is not trying to make his performance less filmi. He points out that many filmmakers today downplay emotions.
“But for me the hallmark of Hindi cinema is the emotions. We Indians are larger-than-life, not afraid to laugh and cry and wear our hearts on our sleeves. Milan understands that and has written an emotional, original story that may have certain similarities to Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel, but is not a biopic. The characters and their journeys are their own, which is why I am embarking on my own journey too,” he says.