Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola is a complete transformation for Imran Khan?
Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola is going to be the most dramatically different character I’ve played on celluloid. It is a whole new experience for me. I’ve spent my career so far working with new debutant directors. I mean a young team of people in production too. But here, I am working with an experienced and a seasoned director. So it brings a whole different perspective on a director actor relationship.
Weren’t you taken by surprise by your character?
It’s more on what kind of roles I am offered. A lot of directors and producers tend to see me in a rom-com space. I think I get offered a lot of those roles. But I want to think sometimes out of the box. That’s why I was surprised with the role Vishal Bhardwaj was offering me. When he offered me the script, I asked him – ‘Are you sure you want me to do this role?’
Would you at this stage in your career pull off a role of an older man? That’ll be physically challenging to another level.
As an actor one has to keep doing different stuff but you have to also go one step back and say – Wait, can I pull this off? To play a part physically older, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to pull it off. It needs to look a lot more convincing. It is easier to play younger than it is to play older because a lot goes into the weight, the body language, etc. It’s a tough idea and I don’t know whether I am ready to do that right now.
I bet your Haryanvi look is already the talk of the town.
Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola is set in Haryana. And in smaller towns there, everybody has a beard and a moustache. That is how it is. So I had to look convincing. We had to work a lot on the body language – the way I talk, the way I stand, etc. I am playing a local. It’s a three dimensional character and it’s always fun to play. Even in EMAET, I was quite stiff in the start of the movie but I tend to loosen up in the middle and by the end of the movie, I am at ease with my body language. That’s how much we put into our characters. I find this difficult aspect of acting really interesting.
Your first time with a seasoned director – Vishal Bhardwaj. Wow! How’s it been so far?
Tell me about it! Yes, wow! An ideal director-actor relationship works on communication. You cannot be in awe of your director and can’t be like a ‘guru-shishya’ (teacher-student) types. It has to be two guys working together. Vishal Bhardwaj is so open to discuss things and wants to know how I am thinking on a particular scene. He is a remarkably humble person. Yesterday I was doing a scene with Pankaj Kapur – a senior and a respected actor of our industry. He is a fantastic actor. In the scene, all three of us including Vishal were discussing the scene with our own feedbacks. So there is no ego.