About his new film with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Imran Khan says it genuinely a whole bunch of fun and from what we have seen so far in the promos we would have to agree. Gori Tere Pyaar Mein was directed by Punit Malhotra. The rom-com with more is set to release on November 22nd and fans cannot wait to see these what these three will bring to the silver screen. In the film, Imran plays Sriram Venkat the shallowest guy on earth who doesn’t value anything but having a good time. Of course as all heroes must do, he meets the love of his life Dia, a firebrand social activist who wants to change the world, played by Kareena Kapoor Khan. Of course being the man he is and the woman she is they have a short romance…What happens next is the more to the GTPM’s kahaani. Sriram realises he want to win his Dia back and goes to the village where Dia is working. Not only will he work to change the village, he will change and hopefully win her heart. This is the story of a boy and his struggle to cross a bridge… a bridge that bridges the love and gap between two people.
I got the chance to chat with the actor while he was in New York for a promotional stop for the film. Check out what he had to say about Gori Tere Pyaar Mein and that Bridge!
So what was it about this film that made you want to see it and then play the character?
Actually it took awhile. Punit went through a lot of drafts with this one. The first draft that Punit wrote, interestingly enough, it was a story of two guys and two girls and also interestingly enough he wanted me and Saif for the parts of these two guys. Now the basic storyline was the same that these two guys land up in this village to win their respective girls back. That was a very, very early draft but he scrapped that pretty soon and it became one guy and one girl. For a long time, through the second and third drafts, it just wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t on the same page with Punit. I wasn’t seeing the second half. You know how in the second half he goes to this village and he is building this bridge: I just wasn’t seeing it – I wasn’t on board with it. It took awhile. I was like, ‘Punit your first draft was great man. The romantic stuff is great. The funny stuff is really funny. But, I am not seeing this bridge. What is up with this bridge WHY?’ He went through three or four drafts of the screenplay at least before it got to point where I was seeing what he was seeing. Which was that emotional hope. It wasn’t easy, it was long journey but I got there.
Now is this really based on a true story from Punit’s life?
No. No, it isn’t based on a true story. It is based on mad obsession that Punit had with a bridge. I swear from his first draft of the screenplay I said Punit what is with you and this bridge. I’ve got to make this film. It has got to be about this bridge.
How would you describe your character Sriram?
You know, Punit writes his male characters kind-of as an extension of himself. This is what he did in I Hate Luv Storys and it is what he did in Gori. It is interesting, there is a lot of Jay from IHLS and there is a lot of Punit Malhotra in it. I tend to look at him as a slightly more grown up, slightly more mature version of Jay from I Hate Luv Storys. He is once again a selfish, self-involved guy. He is a guy who really only cares about himself. He is not very empathetic. He just wants to have fun, he wants to hang out with friends, he wants to hook up with girls – he is not really interested in anything deeper than that. Once again it is about how this guy goes through some sort of emotional growth and maturity.
Now this is more of rom-com love story but it is more too can you tell me about that?
Yeah, the first half is very classic. It is very reminiscent of I Hate Luv Storys. Second half is where you move into a whole new space.
How was it working with Punit again in this avatar?
You know, this is the first time I have done a second film with a director. It is the first time I’ve repeated a director. It is also the first time I’ve repeated a co-star, Kareena. And interestingly, I think most people won’t realize this, most of the technical team: a lot of the ADs, the sound recordist Ali, these are the guys who’ve worked with me on a lot of other films. Ali was on I Hate Luv Storys, he’s on Break Ke Baad, he’s on Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, so he’s done a lot of work with me. A lot of ADs that were on IHLS and were on EMAET as well. So you get this entire gang of people that you’ve worked with at least once before sometimes 2 or 3 times before and felt like this big huge reunion. It was hands down the most fun I’ve had in a movie. Because you kind-of develop a shorthand. On the one hand with me and Kareena, I now have a much better understanding of how she works having done a film with her. She has a better understanding of how I work as well, so we are better in sync. I understand what Punit wants. Punit knows my strength and weaknesses to work around that. As a result it made the work a lot easier.
What about working with Kareena again? She has said and I think you told me a lot of her is just natural and going by instincts acting, you turn the camera on her and she is on, so how is it to act opposite her?
I tend to think of acting with another actor as a tennis volley you know. I hit the ball, she hits back, I hit, she hits back. And you do rely very heavily or personally at least I rely very heavily on the other artists, on the other actor, being able to hit it back probably at the correct time and after that keep that rhythm going. And she is unfailing in that. She’s great. She really does live in the moment. Whatever you throw at her she can pick up and run with it. It’s awesome.
Do you ever just stand there and get lost in what she is doing…
You know on EKAET it did happen a couple of times. Now I’ve managed to get myself under-control. (Laughs)
Then there is the great music by Vishal and Shekhar…
My favourite is actually ‘Dhat Teri Ki’. It is a very, very cool club song. It has got this very 70’s funk vibe. There is a very similar sound to Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’. It’s got a similar vibe to it. Listen to when the song starts up, there is this 70’s funk guitar kind of feel to it. Very, very good stuff. Vishal and Shekhar, this is the 3rd time I’ve had them on board my film and it’s just awesome. They gave us such a great album on IHLS, wonderful album on Break Ke Baad, and once again here. So I’m very, very lucky to have them on board.
Now in the video for ‘Dhat Teri Ki’, is that you on a skateboard holding on to a motorcycle….
Yeah! That was my idea actually. You know what in the title song of IHLS there is one moment where I was wearing these heely shoes, shoes which have heels on them where I did I did a backward slide on the dance floor.
Yes, I remember that!
So since it was me and Punit back together I wanted to have some kind of a subtle reference or a subtle nod to that. And I enjoy skateboarding so I suggested we throw that in. It was a really nice skateboard, which I wish got to keep after we finished shooting. (Laughs)
Coming to the dancing…Now you have the more modern steps of ‘Dhat Teri Ki’ and then the more classical and rustic steps of ‘Chingam Chabake’, which did you find more difficult?
Remo D’Souza has done all the tracks; it is all Remo’s work. Chingam was the toughest form for me without a doubt; the dance steps are more desi, more rustic. ‘Dhat Teri Ki ‘was cooler and groovier; this one was very, very energetic and jumpy. So yeah there was a lot more work on ‘Chingam Chabake’ and my feel hurt a lot more at the end of the day. Hardest work I’ve done so far.
How do you think you have changed as an actor over your films so far?
You do get comfortable with every film obviously. That is kind of how it works. With every film, with every scene, with every day, you learn something that you didn’t know the day before. You easier, you get more comfortable and you get more confident. And every, every film helps in the next one even in ways that you wouldn’t think. You wouldn’t think a film like Matru would help me in a space like this but somehow it did.
Now in every film, your wife Avantika does a Hitchcock like appearance, do she do one in GTPM?
(Laughs) I mean there is a moment where she is technically in the frame in the background and I don’t think anyone can catch her. It was like a crowd scene, there were a whole bunch of people and a lot of friends there. I doubt anyone would actually catch her. But technically she is.
What’s next for you?
Next is a film called Bhavesh Joshi, which I am going to start sometime early next year with Vikram Aditya Motwani. So it’s at a very early stage so we are still hammering out the screenplays, he hasn’t cast anyone beside me yet. So it is at a very early stage.
Do you have any plans to direct anytime soon?
No plans yet. No. At time point it is still all about the acting.
Your thoughts on Hindi movies today.
I think we are at a better place than we’ve ever been before. Every year your get more films that are very off-beat, that are the kind of films that few years ago you wouldn’t even have imagined that these films would get funded. Today the films are releasing and they are doing well commercially and critically. Every year there are a few of these surprises. Wow, somebody funded this movie and look at this the audiences are going to the theater and watching it, they are supporting it.
What do you think audiences will enjoy the most about this film?
It is genuinely a whole bunch of fun. Punit shoots from the hip. He is all about having fun. As a guy, at a personal level that is how he is and as a filmmaker same thing. He wants you to genuinely smile, he wants you to laugh, he wants you to sing along, he wants you to dance to his songs. He is very straight up about that.
Be sure to check out the fun of Gori Tere Pyaar Mein when it hits theaters on November 22nd!