With his chocolate-boy looks, most of the roles Imran Khan would portray until now were in romantic comedies: from Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na (2008) and I Hate Luv Storys (2010) to Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011) and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012).
But now, at 29, the actor finally seems to be moving into a new phase in his career. His next few films will have him playing significantly different characters.
In Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2 (OUATIM 2), Imran plays a tapori
(loafer), for which he has been interacting with people from the Mumbai’s underbelly. In Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (MKBKM), he essays the role of a rustic boy from Haryana. Even in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Milan Talkies, he will be seen as a small-town boy, a character that is diametrically opposite to his usual suave, urban roles.
Ask him about this new direction in his career and Imran replies, “You fit into certain kinds of roles when you are a certain age. I’ve always looked young for my age, but in the past couple of years, I’ve grown up a bit. So now directors see me in a different light. It has very little to do with my choices and more about the offers that are now coming my way.”
And how will working with such critically acclaimed directors affect his professional life? “The benefit is immeasurable. In fact, I feel more secure than ever in my career now, since I know someone is watching over me. Earlier, I worked with debut directors, so I always wondered if the films would work.” These directors are also known to be perfectionists. And Imran is prepared to put in the hard work required for the parts: he spent a month learning Haryanavi before he started shooting for MKBKM.
“Now, I’m comfortable with the language and I can even improvise when directed on set. As for OUATIM 2, it’s not only set in a certain area, but is also a period film. We have to make both the characters and the era look believable.”
Is he expecting these movies to be as massy as Rowdy Rathore or Dabangg (2009)? “All these films are different. Vishal’s are rustic, but the content isn’t just for single screen audiences. He tells stories of the heartland, but makes them acceptable to everyone.”