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‘Avantika is tougher on me than my mamu’

Some say he’s outgrown the 'Aamir Khan’s little nephew’ tag. Others differ. Right now, he has shed the boy-next-door look, and how. Over a cuppa, Imran Khan gets talking with Rachana Dubey.

entertainment Updated: Sep 22, 2008 11:59 IST
Rachana Dubey

Some say he’s outgrown the ‘Aamir Khan’s little nephew’ tag. Others differ. Okay, his first attempt Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na was a big hit, but right now, he has shed the boy-next-door look, and how. Over a cuppa, Imran Khan gets talking with Rachana Dubey.

Hello. Your mamu, Aamir Khan’s film, Taare Zameen Par, has been announced as India’s entry to the Oscars.
I’m feeling great. And I can’t stop bragging about mamu. He’s simply the best. This is the second time he’s done this. It’s a well-deserved entry.

Okay, you seem to be an ardent mamu bhakt. Has he been advising you on the career front?
I don’t mind that actually. To answer your question, mamu doesn’t advise me on what projects to accept or decline. He has always advised me not to go down the conventional route that everyone takes.. instead I must make my own rules and my own path and do exactly what I think I should do. <b1>

That means you’re going your mamu’s way.
Well, I follow my own rules and path.

I believe you even work out together.
Yes, we do. Mamu has converted the garage in his building into a gym and invited me to work out with him.

Okay okay, Aamir Khan’s debut movie was a love story and the second one was an action movie. Ditto yours. Is it a coincidence or..?
(Cuts in) It’s just a striking similarity in our careers. But that’s it. I was offered a script which I liked, and I accepted. Mamu’s second movie, Raakh, was a box office disaster. I’m hoping Kidnap isn’t.. I have my fingers and toes crossed. In fact recently, I went to mamu and said this to him like a besharam. He laughed it off and assured me that things will be okay. <b2>

What has been his reaction to the promos?
You know, it’s tough to get a word of praise from him, but he was impressed. (Smiles) His appreciation was reassuring for me. And everyone else who’s seen it, has accepted me as the kidnapper.

What about your girlfriend Avantika?
She’s another critic in my life.. in fact, sometimes, she’s tougher on me than my mamu. We were in South Africa when the promos went on air. She went online, checked it and came out impressed.

But isn’t it too early to dabble with a negative role like your mamu did in Raakh?
Listen, I didn’t go looking out for one. We started shooting Jaane Tu.. in December 2006. January 2007 was when I was offered the movie. I was screen tested, initially only for my role, later I was screen tested with heroines.

Apparently, Sanjay Dutt has grown fond of you.
(Smiles) Baba is actually quite fond of Aamir Khan.. and that fondness has extended to me. I vividly remember Day One of the shoot. I had a scene with him in which I point a gun at his head and deliver a threatening dialogue. I kept forgetting my lines. He hugged me and said, “Just chill, dude.” We struck a chord there.

He also gifts Rolexes to people he’s fond of. Has he gifted you one?
(Looks at his watch.. smiles) I think I’m not among those privileged ones.. I’ll have to make do with a Fossil till he gifts me a Rolex.

Buzz is that Sanjay Dutt was upset about the release date.

That’s a figment of a journalist’s imagination. I think someone dreamt of it and published it immediately.



Apparently, the basic plot of

Kidnap

is based on the 1985 movie,

Commando

. So, you feel Baba has stepped into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shoes and Minnisha Lamba is playing Alyssa Milano’s part?

There are certain elements like the threat phone call which are common to every kidnapping movie. Sanjay Gadhvi has kept the look Hollywoodish, but it’s not a copy. <b3>



The climax of your next film

Luck

is stuck.

We arranged for the train and all the other equipment on the sets in Namibia. But there was a union strike there. Despite all the clearances from all the government departments, we couldn’t get a train driver to shoot the sequence.. they all had death threats. No one wanted to risk his life. So now we will shoot it in December.



Apparently, you recommended Shruti Haasan to director Soham Shah.

So? I’ve known her since we were kids. Soham auditioned her and he was happy with her.



How does your girlfriend Avantika get along with your heroines?

She’s friendly with Genelia. Minnisha became a friend in the course of shooting

Kidnap

. I’ve known Shruti for long. Avantika gets along with all my heroines quite well. No hassle at all.



How much has Avantika’s mother, Vandana Mullick’s presence in Studio 18 helped?

Her company bought

Kidnap

after it was completed. My doing decent projects has nothing to do with her presence at Studio 18. I don’t know where these things come from. <b4>



After working with your

mamu

in

Rang De Basanti

, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra wanted to direct you in his next,

Delhi 6

.

See, we were supposed to start shooting

Delhi 6

two weeks after

Kidnap

was wrapped. Then, Baba got arrested. We had already shot half the movie with him. There were three careers, Minnisha Lamba, Sanjay Gadhvi and mine, dwindling.. we didn’t know what was coming next. I couldn’t obviously dust my hands off

Kidnap

and start

Delhi 6

. They couldn’t wait any longer. So I had to opt out of the film.



It’s believed that your uncle Aamir will direct

Delhi Belly

now.

No way! Initially, Robert Nylon was supposed to direct it. Probably he didn’t understand our culture and our social set up well. So Abhinay Deo stepped in by mutual consent. He’s one of the best ad filmmakers in the country.



Your debut alongside Harman Baweja’s in

Love Story 2050

was talked about. Have you ever interacted with Harman Baweja?

I don’t know that guy and have only seen him in the movie promos.