8 things Imran Khan said about his mental health, depression and comeback | Bollywood - Hindustan Times
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8 things Imran Khan said about his mental health, depression and comeback

By | Edited by Sugandha Rawal
May 23, 2024 02:06 PM IST

Bollywood actor Imran Khan has often opened up about dealing with mental health, and how he wants to come back to the acting world.

Coming out of the oblivion, Bollywood actor Imran Khan has been quite vocal about his personal struggles from battling severe depression to seeking therapy. Now, as the buzz around his comeback project grows, we take a look at some of his comments which gave his fans a peek into his life and thoughts. (Also read: Exclusive| The Imran Khan interview: From his depression, to comeback after 10 years, to ladylove Lekha Washington)

Imran Khan is often in the news for his relationship with Lekha Washington.
Imran Khan is often in the news for his relationship with Lekha Washington.

On battling severe depression

Imran took a break from acting after the release of Katti Batti in 2015. In an interview with Film Companion, the actor opened up about his battle, saying he was barely capable of functioning at that time.

“In those years, I was just not capable of doing these things. I was barely capable of functioning. When you are tackling deep and severe depression, just getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth and taking a shower is a monumental task,” he said.

During a conversation with Hindustan Times, he said, “The thing about depression, anxiety, all of these things is there are shades that exist yet you don't recognize. Of course, until I had the vocabulary for a lot of it, I do not consider that I had anxiety. It's only as you start to become a little conscious... when you can't sleep in the middle of the night and you wake up at 4:30 in the morning- oh, is that anxiety? I didn't really consider that. It didn't strike me in a way that it was significant enough for me to pay attention. I guess around late 2016 I started to really get it”.

“I was like, you know what, I'm not feeling okay. It's like chronic back pain or something over time will go away. You don't pay attention until one day you stop and say man my back has been hurting. Maybe I should go to a doctor. So it was that kind of a gradual realization. I was not feeling like the guy who I think I am in my head. I realized that while I think of myself as that, actually, I was a very fearful person, I was very anxious,” he added.

On realising the importance of mental health

In an interview, he revealed that the challenging period between 2016 and 2017 made him realise the importance of focusing on his mental health. "Being an actor is optional, but these things are not optional," he said as he stumbled on the changing dynamics of fame with every release.

He recalled, "The week before Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na released, nobody could have given a damn if I walked on the street; the week after it was released, suddenly there are people chasing my car."

On backing out of projects

He has admitted that his professional life also suffered because of the personal turmoil of his life. “I was attached to a few films then. I backed out of a couple of films at that point. I was in extended talks on a film which I believe, ended up being called Thar (the Netflix film starring Anil Kapoor). I was in an early stage of development on that film. And Harsh Varrdhan played that role. I started pulling back. I never issued a press statement either saying on this day I retired. These are also years that I was very actively dealing with depression” he told Hindustan Times.

On seeking therapy

Imran laid his heart out in a chat with Vogue magazine, where he revealed that therapy helped him get in touch with his core. He started going for therapy in 2017, and used to visit a therapist four times a week.

“I felt damaged on the inside, and I wanted to fix that. If you pull a hamstring, you go to the physiotherapist. You don’t feel good mentally? Seek therapy,” he said.

Calling it a ‘defining decision, the actor said, “If you speak to someone who has given up an addiction or gone off alcohol, they could tell you the exact number of days they’ve been sober. It’s the same for me with my mental health”.

On going minimalistic

In the process of dealing with his demons, Imran opted for a minimalist life. He gave up his bungalow in Bandra’s Pali Hill, and moved into an apartment around the time he divorced his wife, Avantika Malik.

“I started by moving into what was basically an empty space. I started bringing things into the space based on my requirements. I had a television because I like to watch movies, and I had a sofa. And then, bit by bit, I started to bring in things only based on what I actually need,” he told Film Companion.

On losing weight due to depression

Through an Instagram post, Imran revealed he got skinnier as he battled depression, and people claimed he was on drugs.

“In recent years, as I battled depression and stopped working out, I became skinnier than I'd ever been. When I was photographed, it sparked a media discussion about my wellbeing, and speculations of drug abuse! I felt deeply ashamed, embarrassed to be seen by anyone in this state. So I retreated further,” he wrote on his Instagram account, adding, “While I'm still a tad jealous of those dudes with superhero muscles... I don't feel bad about myself”.

On his comeback project getting shelved

Imran was set to make his comeback with Abbas Tyrewala’s spy thriller. However, the project has been put on the back burner.

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“We started talking about it in July of last year. Abbas Tyrewala called me up out of the blue. I was in San Francisco for a holiday, and he told me that he has written this amazing thing. It was a cool story, and he asked me to do it together. The project was in early development at Hotstar. This was before the acquisition. The latter part of last year, Hotstar got amalgamated with Jio and somewhere within all of this, that project felt wayside,” he told Film Companion.

He is happy about the development as he doesn’t “want to play a character who solves problems with a gun”.

On his next project

There has been a lot of buzz around Imran next project. Recently, there were talks that he will return with the comedy film, Happy Patel, however, he dismissed the reports.

“After spending 10 years trying to be invisible, for people to have that curiosity is somewhat counterintuitive. Almost all brands have approached me in the last year for endorsements. I turned down everyone. I don't want people to say 'he's back for the money',” he told Hindustan Times.

At IFP Festival Season 13 in Mumbai, he had said, “I don't have a clear answer, but I am reading scripts and having creative conversations with filmmakers”.

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