… admits Imran Khan, flush with the success of Karan Johar’s rom-com
I am glad for Imran Khan. I Hate Luv Storys is a hit. It had a bigger opening last Friday than Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani did in November 2009.
Pitchforking Imran right beside Ranbir Kapoor in the rom-com stakes. And, God bless, making him the hottest thing in Bollywood currently. The trade has liked the film, the critics have appreciated it, producer Karan Johar is beaming, and Imran’s become the new poster boy of the media. It must be a nice feeling after the duds he had in Kidnap and Luck, and after Ranbir’s last three hits. But more than the girls going crazy over him, more than the awareness that his price will go up, his next film will have a big opening, that endorsements will fall into his lap, what is pleasing Imran most is that Bollywood will now look at him and say, ‘He’s a good bet, this kid can handle himself.’ That’s what he told me at home over tea. Home is 24, Pali Hill, an old bungalow now under renovation. Huge cement mixers rolled noisily outside.
Workmen spilled all over the place. Inside, the young actor sat cross-legged and sighed in satisfaction, “They ordered more prints, increased the number of shows, all this is an added bonus for Dharma Productions and UTV Motion Pictures… because I Hate Luv Storys made its money on satellite, music and digital sales even before its release. Karan kept the budget tight, and from last Friday onwards, every rupee has been a profit. This is a good business model.
I’m glad to be part of it, because everybody can only make money when actors take responsibility for their work. And, I can tell you, this is the first time I knew what I was doing. Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na was a fluke. In Kidnap and Luck, I wasn’t powerful enough to influence the films. But in I Hate Luv Storys, I was in control of my performance.” For that, he raises his hands in grateful thanks to producer Karan and director Punit Malhotra. “They brought out the romantic hero in me… and I’ve realised, it’s fun to explore, but if something works — you do that, and this comes easy,” he said in reference to his failure with action roles. He admits to being depressed over his earlier flops. “My films were trashed, I was trashed, I was like, shit, how do I salvage the situation,” said Imran. And he supplied the answer, “By working as though I wasn’t feeling that way.” That was what maamu Aamir Khan wanted for him. “To fail, to fall down, to figure out for myself,” added Imran. Which is why, perhaps, he is realistic about his current hot status. Or maybe it hasn’t sunk in yet. “I’m going to be hot until something goes wrong,” he said matter of factly, “I know I’ve reached from there to here… but it’s easy to go back. And I want to go ahead.” Life outside 24, Pali Hill has changed for Imran Khan since I Hate Luv Storys. “The way people treat me, I know I’m famous,” he accepted, “a gay icon, a sex symbol, but my friends think I’m an idiot. When we travel together and stay in small hotels, it’s two people to a bed, so where’s the celebrity status then? I still have to fight for the bathroom!”