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Imran’s grown a beard! Sonia Ahmed finds out why…

Posted: 05.12.12

Congratulations on Matru Ki Biljee Ka Mandola. You must be really excited about this film, it’s so different?
I am feeling good about it but also very nervous. For 11 months I have been silent about the film and now it’s out! It is all very exciting and everything is happening so fast.

It’s a pretty rustic role – how did you transform yourself?
It was absolutely terrifying…the first day I sat down with the director Vishal Bhardwaj and when we were script reading in the office, I couldn’t even string a sentence together - I was panicking. He said it would not be easy and that I had a lot to learn but he had faith in me.
The first thing I had to do learn how to get into character so I moved to Delhi and spent two and a half months there. I was working with a guy called A.J Sharma. I got real hands on; the transformation was all about body language. As an actor you need to know about body language but I also had to learn every single other aspect of this character.

That explains the beard…
Normally I like my hair short and I go for a weekly shave but for this role I had to have a huge beard that I grew in hot conditions. I spent all day chewing my moustache. I am not even exaggerating. If it is long enough you can grab the corner of it and start chewing it. You look very stupid but you can’t help it!

You’re starting to look more and more like your uncle Aamir Khan..
Yes, he was worried about that but honestly I don’t see that. Though he would say  ‘you don’t look as good as me.’

We hear you kept a photo diary to track the change in appearance?
Clean-shaven is my normal look so I thought it would be really cool to take photos everyday to chart my beard growth. I took about 200 photos over seven months. I started on the day I was clean-shaven, you can see my beard growing out then I changed my hair colour and the colour of my beard.
My beard is naturally a light brown colour but I had to dye it black for the film. You can also see my skin colour change and the overall look of the character forming.

The film is set in a village, could you live in one?
When I was growing up  the school I went to didn’t have any electricity we had to walk around using the lamps and cooked our on food… basically like a village! So yeah, I could hack it!

What was it like working alongside Anushka Sharma, did her talents surprise you?
The first day we were shooting together, I actually got to see her act right in front of me. She did this beautiful scene that was very upsetting. I was amazed at how she built up the emotions and some tears come out. It was a very strong and honest performance. It was real, a lot better then what I thought. I think she is the best young actress of the generation.

Do you think your original boyish charms have turned into a masculine man image yet?
That’s for India to say, I really don’t know!

Who is your favourite James Bond?
It used to be Sean Connery for me all the way but now after the latest film, it’s Daniel Craig!

Tell us a hidden talent that nobody knows that you have?
I am a good cook!

How is married life treating you? Any plans to extend the family?
Not so bad actually, ever since we got married we have completed everything together. We have been together for 10 years and lived together for eight years but I think it will be another six years before we have children, I don’t have time to be around at the moment and I don’t want to have kids without being there.

So what’s next for you?
I have just started shooting for Once Upon A Time In Mumbai which is due out next year.

Matru Ki Biljee Ka Mandola is released in January


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