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Imran Khan on I Hate Luv Storys

Last updated on: May 26, 2010 18:57 IST

'I've always known that I would have flops'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na made Imran Khan an overnight sensation in India.
 
With good reason, too. Despite a small budget, Jaane Tu became 2008's biggest grosser at the box office.
 
But then Imran tried something new. He did two action films -- Kidnap and Luck -- but neither did well at the box office.
 
Now, he is back to the genre which first brought him fame -- the romantic comedy. He's set to star opposite Sonam Kapoor in I Hate Luv Storys, for Karan Johar's Dharma Production, directed by debutant Puneet Malhotra.
 
Imran spoke to Syed Firdaus Ashraf about his latest film and his career.  Excerpts:
 
I Hate Luv Storys promos are rocking, and there is a good buzz building around the film. What response are you getting on a personal level?

 
Personally, the response has been very good, and that is quite surprising for me. I am also getting a very positive response from the media, too.
 
Does it make you nervous, because expectations for the film are now quite high?

 
Yes. I always tell myself, "I hope they like it." And then I say, "I hope I live up to (high expectations), too." 
 
When director Puneet Malhotra first came to you with the idea for the film, what was your reaction?
 
I liked it, but I had some reservations about it. He then reworked it, and then everything was right: from screenplay to story to dialogue, everything.

Image: Sonam Kapoor and Imran Khan in I Hate Luv Storys

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'In our film, Sonam's character Simran believes in love, but my character does not'

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The film looks like it is meant for today's generation, say the under-25 crowd. Your comments.
 
I think so too. You know, if you see our romantic films of the 80s and 90s, there were always external problems for boys and girls. Parents didn't allow them to marry a person of their own choice. As times have changed, we too have changed. Boys and girls have internal problems now.
 
In our film, Sonam's character Simran believes in love, but my character does not. So there is no external barrier, but an internal one.
 
That is a nice observation -- parental opposition has disappeared from our romantic films lately...
 
Yes, there are no problems like: her father hates the boy. There is no such drama now.
 
Today, boys say, "I believe in this," and girls say, "I believe in this." They then find some common ground among themselves.
 
Do you think girls believe in love stories more than boys?
 
That has always been the case. Girls love romantic stories and romantic plays, while boys love action films. The tastes are basically different. The ideal thing is to find a common ground for both of them; and that is what Puneet did in the film, I Hate Luv Storys.
 
In your promo dialogue for I Hate Luv Storys, you say that filmi love stories are stupid and that you don't believe in them. Now, most of us have grown up on Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, what is your take in real life?
 
I enjoyed all of them. These films, and also films like Maine Pyaar Kiya, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, were grand romantic films. They are superior films. They have been made by exceptional directors and acted by exceptional actors.

Image: Sonam Kapoor and Imran Khan in I Hate Luv Storys

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'I realised that there are many girls who live in a fool's paradise'

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You think a film like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge can still work, with parental opposition, in today's time?
 
It is possible. At its core, it is a very good romantic film.
 
When I saw Sonam's character in I Hate Luv Storys, I realised that there are many girls who live in a fool's paradise and feel that there is some 'Raj' kind of hero in real life who will come and solve all their problems -- in the same way Shah Rukh's character Raj rescues Simran (Kajol) in DDLJ.
 
In real life, many girls never come to terms with the fact that love stories don't exist, because there is no real Raj.
 
It is entirely true. What I liked about I Hate Luv Storys is the fact that the film puts us somewhere in middle. Both our characters start realising that fact; and Sonam's character also starts accepting realities of life. And (my character) too grows up and realises that there is something called love.
 
There is a philosophy about love: It is for those people whose bills are being paid by their fathers, because only with money in the bank can love exist. What do you say to that?

I feel love is very much needed in life. As human beings, we are social animals. We need friendship and love. We need support of other human beings. Without it, we are not entirely fulfilled. You might be healthy and wealthy, but somewhere emotionally you will not be fulfilled.
 
After your two films didn't do well, did you find people saying your career wasn't going to work, or that you lacked potential?
 
Anyone who has been in the industry for a long time, be he an actor, producer or director, knows this business has ups and downs. Any seasoned director or producer does not look at just one or two films.


Image: Imran Khan in I Hate Luv Storys

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'I always wanted to work with Sonam, after I saw Saawariya'

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Your uncle Aamir Khan suffered a similar fate. He did Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, which was a big hit, and then his career slid badly until Dil happened. Did you learn something from him? Or did you ask for his suggestions?
 
Every actor has flops. Honestly, anyone who is working in the industry knows: you have one hit followed by two flops. That is how everyone's career goes. And anyone who writes off an actor after one flop film has no understanding of the film industry.
 
Everybody says: "Our film industry does not have many heroes who can bring audiences to theatres." And many films don't even get openings in the theatres. You are one of the heroes with potential, and people bank on you. Do you feel pressured by such thoughts, of getting an opening for a film?
 
When I am doing a film, I want it to be successful. We are in a business. If people are putting up their own money, I want everyone involved to make money. I always feel that if my producer is putting his faith in me and putting money on my name, I want him to make money. I want theatre owners to make money. And, of course, I want audiences to enjoy my film.
 
Can you say something about Sonam, your co-star?
 
I always wanted to work with her, after I saw Saawariya. But when possible projects came, either she didn't like or I didn't like. It was only Puneet who came with a subject that we both loved.

Image: A scene from I Hate Luv Storys

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'Delhi Belly will release by next year'

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Were you apprehensive to work with a first-time director?
 
My next three films are all with first time directors!
 
What is happening to Delhi Belly? Has it got stuck? What is the problem?
 
The shooting is complete but director Abhinay Deo has gone to do another film. So he is not available to cut the film. Likewise, Aamir Khan (the film's producer) is busy with Peepli Live!. After they finish their work, we will do the film.
 
There were rumours that Aamir was not happy with the film and wanted to scrap it. Are the rumours true?

 
Arre, we have spent lot of money, yaar. How can we scrap it?
 
So there is no truth in it?
 
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na,
my first film, was in the cans for one and half years. Aamir will never release a film until and unless he is completely satisfied with it. I finished shooting for Jaane Tu in 2007. After that I finished Kidnap and half of Luck by the time it released.
 
When we all have time, we will sit and do Delhi Belly. My guess is that the film will release by next year. There is no feeling like chalo jaldi release karo.

Image: Imran Khan in I Hate Luv Storys

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'I would never recommend anyone to join the film industry'

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You are only three-films old. Do you go back and analyse what went wrong with your films, where they failed?
 
Honestly, it is not about going back and watching the film, but to look at the process of making the film. Obviously, you didn't sign to make a flop film, so you need to know what went wrong while making the film and learn from it.
 
After three films in which one was a big hit and two were flops, what advice would you give for a newcomer who wants to join the film industry?
 
I would never recommend them to join the film industry. It is a very, very difficult and painful business to be in, with so much suffering and so many pitfalls.
 
The people who are working (in the film industry) are here because they have no choice. They cannot do anything else.
 
In your personal life, your late maternal grandfather (Nasir Hussain) suffered huge losses with Zabardast in 1980s, and that scared off Aamir Khan, who then never wanted to be a producer. So when you started as actor, did you have similar fears? If you didn't click as an actor, what would you have done in life?
 
No. The funny thing is that I have always known that I would have flops in my life. You take the biggest stars in the industry, and you see they all had flops.

Image: Imran Khan in I Hate Luv Storys

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'I always get a little shy and a little embarrassed by fans'

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Flops are fine. But what about financial bankruptcy, which could cripple you?
 
No, never. I feel that if you have hunger you will come on top. People who have success, they had the hunger to succeed. There is a great fallacy that the film industry is a place only for people with a filmi background.
You have Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan, who are outsiders but succeeded in the industry. You also have Priyanaka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone.

You still come across as a reserved guy in real life. I once saw girls chasing after your car near SNDT College, in Juhu, Mumbai. But you didn't roll your car window to say hello to them. Why not?
 
I was going there for rehearsals of I Hate Luv Storys. I always get a little shy and a little embarrassed by fans.


Image: Imran Khan in I Hate Luv Storys

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