Vishal Bhardwaj is known for casting popular actors in unconventional roles. After getting the suave Saif Ali Khan to play the rustic Langda Tyagi in Omkara (2006), the filmmaker has attempted an unusual casting yet again. His Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (MKBKM) will see Imran Khan, known for his urban romances, play a Haryanvi from rural India. And, he seems to be rather impressed by his lead actor.
One would never have imagined Imran in such a role. What made you cast him?
I love playing with actors’ images. And, 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. But I loved his honesty. 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 than them?
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.
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 told me that I had made a mistake by casting Imran, but he has proved everyone wrong. He has done his homework well. He has not only spoken like a true Haryanvi, but adapted the body language as well.