“Whatever I chose in life would have to have been connected to films. I love every single aspect of movies, so as long as I get the chance to be a part of making a film, I’m happy.” – Imran Khan
On April 27th, 2008, the world got its first glance at one of the most exciting actors to enter Bollywood. On his blog, Aamir Khan wrote: “This will be the first film of my nephew Imran, I think I’ll post a photo of him. Tell me what you think of the promo, and him” and you could here sighs from all over the world. This young actor’s first film was to set the box office on fire and though Imran Khan came from a filmi family his path to Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na was done all on his own. With the release of his second film Kidnap opening on Wednesday October 1st, we thought we would tell you a bit more about the newest star in Bollywood.
Imran Khan Pal was born on January 13th, 1983 in Madison, Wisconsin to Nuzhat Khan and Anil Pal. His parents divorced before he was two and he lived with his mother. They moved to Bombay and he attended many different schools, starting with the Bombay Scottish School, but things did not go well there. Imran said, “By the time I was in Class IV, I had a stammer, all kinds of nervous tics. I was close to flunking.” So Nuzhat moved him to Blue Mountain School in Coonoor and when the headmaster started his own school in the jungles of Ooty, Nuzhat moved him there. Imran gave some details about the school in an interview saying, “From 10 to 15, I was in a school in the Nilgiris. They didn’t even have a name and on an average there were about 25 students. It was in a village called Geddai, about 3 hours down the hill from Ooty. Where we were staying was outside the village, about 6 km in the jungle. There was no electricity, no water and there were wild animals. You didn’t have to walk far to see wild boars. We had kerosene lamps for light, we got water from the stream, we grew our own vegetable and cooked our food and washed our clothes. We had built the dorms we stayed in; we actually built our own swimming pool. I was there for 8 months of the year. After every four months I would back to Bombay for 2 months. But when you spend so much time in nature, you get a little frazzled when you come here. The noise, pollution and the overwhelming energies of the people…Also there it was scarcely populated.”
Reading this part of his history you would not think he is part of a filmi family, however his grandfather was director Nasir Hussain and he has some pretty impressive uncles, including the famous director Mansoor Khan, as well as the superstar Aamir Khan. Since he was part of that illustrious family, being in films was his destiny. It was Mansoor Khan who gave him his first break in Bollywood at the tender age of three, when Imran starred as the younger version of Aamir Khan’s character Raj in Qaymat Se Qaymat Tak. As a young boy, Imran would also be seen in another Aamir Khan film, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. Imran said, “I had a slightly larger role. There was direction, different kinds of scene. That was great fun to do. Mansoor mamu put a lot of care into my performance. Aamir mamu would make it a point to put my make up on himself. When he would come on set he would personally do my makeup.”
The film industry bug had bitten and as he grew he became more and more interested in acting and films. Throughout his teens he would make his own videos: “As a child, I was into writing and making short films. One of the first few films I made was along the lines of Star Wars. I used a handy cam to shoot a short film about a few friends and me exploring another planet. People at home were very supportive. Mansoor mamu would advise me on the technical aspects of film-making.”
At age 16 he moved to California to live with his father in Freemont to finish high school. His next step would start him on the path of being part of the industry he loved since he was a child. Imran went to film school and studied directing and writing at the prestigious New York Film Academy in Los Angles and graduated with a degree in Film Studies-Direction.
So how did a boy who studied in the jungles of India and learned film direction in LA come to star in one of the biggest hits in 2008? After film school, when Imran returned to Mumbai, he had no desire to be an actor but then came the fateful meeting with Abbas Tyrewala. “I wanted to be a director. I’ve studied in L.A. And worked there for a while. I came back to Mumbai and was meeting people to find work. And throughout all this, I met Abbas. We just really clicked from day one. I loved the script and my character and he was so convinced that I was the right guy for it that I went with it. ” After a couple of screen tests Abbas knew Imran was perfect for the part. Imran took one day to think and then said haa.n.
Since the cast of Jaane Tu was full of young actors, Abbas decided to take a unique approach to prepare them all for the film, “Abbas took all six of us plus Manju, who is not in the poster, to Panchgani and we spent about a week or ten days there doing workshops. He put the boys in one room and the girls in a separate room. He told us to live together and learn to deal with one another and wanted us to come out eventually as a team. We did scene breakdowns; team building exercises and came out of it as one unit. We were like a team, which works perfectly, and the chemistry was just remarkable,” Imran explained.
After that first picture on Aamir’s blog and before Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na even premiered, his fans at ImranKhan.org tried to decide what it was about him that they loved, even if they had not yet heard him utter a word. First and foremost, as fans are of course going to think, they all thought was that he is just down right cute, but also can be really handsome and sexy at the same time. Many mentioned that they loved his expressions, with one fan saying, “He can deliver so many emotions at once, I just loved it! He looks adorable, full of energy and youth.” His screen presence that was another biggie! They all saw a huge potential in him! Another said, “Well, I’ve been thinking about him since a year or so, since I heard Aamir will be launching his nephew. I didn’t know anything about him but already had great expectations, as I trust Aamir’s taste and intuitions 100%. Then, when I saw the trailers, his look, and how excited and involved Aamir was about him, I knew I was going to loooove him.” Once the first promo premiered, the buzz around Jaane Tu got bigger and bigger, the expectations for him got higher, and we still hadn’t heard him speak. Then came the voice, the sighs were heard all over again (even more this time) and it was clear that a new rising star was on the horizon.
Finally after months of counting off the days, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na premiered in theaters on July 4th, 2008 and everyone, critics and fans alike, knew a star was born. In his review for Bollyspice.com, Aly Kassam wrote, “Immense anticipation has accompanied the debut of Imran Khan, as he bears the weighty title of being ‘Aamir Khan’s nephew’. He certainly impresses, and you can tell he’s worked hard to make his performance work. His facial expressions and body language is fantastic, he looks the part completely. For the most part he’s wonderful, but there are a few sequences in which you wish he’d try to get into the skin of the character more. Sometimes, and I mean only during a few lines here and there, his acting was slightly superficial. Nevertheless, the man has a long and extremely promising future ahead of him. It doesn’t matter what he does next or how many films he signs, ‘Rats’ will always be an iconic character for him.” Jaane Tu had a huge opening weekend and is one of the biggest hits of 2008.
Aamir mamu was also impressed with Imran’s performance saying, “Imran has a good screen presence. The camera loves him and that’s a big asset for any actor. He’s also a good dancer; but he still has a long way to go. He should extract the optimum out of the opportunity that he has got at a young age.” However, Imran is a true nephew of Aamir and was not at all happy with his performance, “I do feel that my performance was very raw. Honestly I cringe whenever I watch the film but I’m not going to give up. I’m going to work harder and get better. However some of the rawness seems to have worked in favour of the character. And ultimately if it suits the film nothing else matters.”
Imran is continuing on the acting path and he has a great way of deciding what films he would like to be a part of. “I read a script or listen to a narration and imagine I’m watching a film. By the end, if I think I’d spend money to watch it, I go ahead.”
Apparently Kidnap met that requirement, and on October 1st fans will see Imran playing a character on the opposite side of the spectrum from Jai. “My role in Kidnap is as different as it is possible to get from Jaane Tu. It didn’t just come to me, nor did it come easy.” In talking a bit more about the character he said, “In Kidnap, I play a fairly troubled, angsty and violent character. I think it’s very interesting, hope you guys will think so too!” The film also stars Sanjay Dutt and on the first day of filming Imran was a bit nervous, “I was nervous and kept fumbling my lines. So I apologized to him. He reacted by giving me a hug and telling me to chill.” Also seen in the film are Vidya Malavade and Minissha Lamba.
Also in the pipeline is Luck, which is directed by Soham (Kaal). The action adventure film also stars Shruti Hassan, Mithun Chakraborty, Danny Denzongpa and Sanjay Dutt. About the concept of the film he said, “Well the film deals with luck as an actual commodity. What effect it has on those round you and how luck can affect your life more than you realise. Its an adventure film.”
Imran was recently asked what the difference was between his characters in Jaane Tu, Kidnap and Luck and he replied, “I found my character in Kidnap the hardest, simply because I couldn’t find any common ground with him. Jai was easy for me to relate to, and my character in Luck is also easier for me to understand. Kidnap, though… I loved the script, loved the character, but man, was I in over my head. Major credit to Sanjay Gadhvi, the director, for having more faith in me than I did, and helping me through the film. Ultimately though, I’m mostly happy with the work I’ve done, and I’ve got a good feeling about it.”
His fans have a good feeling about it too! With his gorgeous looks, soulful eyes and incredible intelligence, Imran Khan has made his mark in Bollywood, with only one film. Though he comes from a filmi family, they each tread their own path, and Imran certainly seems to be going the right way. After his phenomenal debut one can only expect this young actor to grow and give audiences some brilliant performances. All his fans can do now is wait and watch and cheer when each new film comes out! We here at BollySpice know that he will continue to thrill audiences with his performances to come and one day with the films he directs himself!
Jaane Tu actually took 3 years to come to the screen and it was only when Aamir took over as producer and brought in Mansoor Khan that it finally was completed. After they saw the first cut of Jaane Tu Abbas and Imran hated it, but Aamir and Mansoor said, “Relax. It’s a damn good movie and you just can’t see it yet!”
In a recent chat Imran revealed his first shot in Jaane Tu, “The first was with Jai and Meghna walking in the park. The scene was ultimately cut from the film but you will probably find it on the DVD. I was not at all nervous.” He also revealed what favorite scene was: “My favourite scene in Jaane Tu was what we on set called ‘The Farewell Scene’. Jai and Aditi sitting by the waterfront, talking about her going to America, and Jai finally noticing the bruise on her face. I did that scene in my original audition for the film, and then again with several actresses who tested for the film, and I’ve loved it every time.” His favorite song? ‘Kahin To’
When Abbas wanted him to wear the red sari in Jaane Tu he told him he had lost his mind.
Voted the Most Promising Newcomer at Buzz 18.
At the chat on Buzz 18 with fans, Imran was asked what the hardest thing about acting is, and he replied. “For me, the two hardest things about acting (in no particular order) are: 1. Light, charming, flamboyant scenes. I’m such a somber person; the darkness comes easily to me, but not the other stuff. I have to work hard at that. And 2. Makeup. I hate it. More than anything. It’s sticky, it rubs off on your clothes, on your hands if you happen to touch your face during a scene, on the walls if… you happen to rub your face on a wall. For whatever reason.”
Plans to direct films one day but feels that acting will teach him and give him a lot of experience.
Aamir revealed about Jo Jeeta, “He is the first Indian hero to show his rear to the audience.” Imran replied, ” …Even before Saawariya. Whatever happens, Ranbir can’t take that from me.
He never liked Aamir growing up. Aamir used to tease him and he also would take him out and use him to meet girls. Best advice from Aamir mamu: “Find your own way. From choosing your director and script, learn everything the hard way.”
Speaking of Aamir, Imran has signed on to be part of his next film Delhi Belly.
While at the New York Film Academy in LA he made many short films and about those first films he said they were, “clich