Salman Khan’s Bodyguard is bound to leave actors with films due for release feeling a bit queasy, after it opened to a staggering Rs 21.5 cores. The film has maintained its stand at the box office since day one and has grossed Rs 85 crores on the fifth day. Judging from Bodyguard’s phenomenal impact on Bollywood, Avesta Choudhary asks Imran Khan, whose new film Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is releasing this week, if he is braced for the Friday battle Delhi Belly and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan are very different films. Please share your thoughts.
I don’t believe in limiting myself to a particular style or genre. I don’t want to be a type actor. While I will do something very experimental and radical such as a Delhi Belly, I’ll also feel excited to work in a regular commercial film like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Also, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan occupies a space that I have honestly not ventured into completely. It is a story that is set in the Hindi heartland – clean and friendly. Ideally, when we make a film we want to reach out to as many different kinds of audiences as possible. In case of Delhi Belly, firstly by virtue of being an English film, and then for being an adult film, we knew that we were catering to a restricted audience.
Bodyguard is doing good business even on its 10th day. Do you see it as a competition?
Well, Rs 85 crores in a span of five days is quite a phenomenon. I have never heard of something like this before. But, I think by the time our film hits the theatres, the effects of Bodyguard would have died down. I don’t think it will be a competition because the craze for any film remains strong in the opening weekend. So by the time our film releases, Bodyguard would already finish a week in the cinema.
Was the release date of Bodyguard kept in mind while fixing the release date for your film?
Honestly, I was not involved in the decision. That is something that the production team handles. But I am sure they must have taken this into account that we should not release our film on the same day when Salman’s film hits the theatres. No one in his or her right mind would do that.
You are promoting your film through reality shows, live performances and music concerts everywhere. Is there any specific reason for such heavy promotion?
It is no less than what I have done for Delhi Belly or I Hate Luv Stories or even Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. For us these days, the opening weekend has become tremendously important. This film has a very wide audience space so we are trying to reach out to as many people as we possibly can which is why we are doing live shows and live appearances. We are going everywhere from a singing show to a dancing show to a comedy show because these are all elements of our film.
Do you think marketing has become an integral part of the film industry?
Marketing the film is every bit as important as making the film itself. Half the business of the film comes from promoting and marketing of the film and the other half comes from the movie. The way you market your film will ensure what audiences you get for the initial Friday, Saturday and Sunday. From Monday it depends on the quality of the film. If the film is good then it will continue to draw audiences through the rest of the week, and if it isn’t then the collection will drop from Monday onwards.
Aamir Khan usually promotes his films in a very creative way and it’s always something new and appealing. Have you learnt something from him that you implement in your own films?
He has never given me advice in specific but what I have learnt from working with him in the two films - Jaane Tu or Delhi Belly is that you have to be honest with your work. You have to figure out what you consider most appealing about your film and have to convey that very clearly to the audience. With Delhi Belly for example, we wanted to warn everyone about the adult content of the movie as we didn’t want people to be shocked by it. We wanted people to be aware of that they were coming to watch an adult film with unparliamentary language in it.
How was it collaborating with Pakistani actor Ali Zafar?
His role is crucial because first, the character is a very funny character. He is a guy who is witty, charming so he is got very funny lines and we needed an actor who could play this role well. I had not seen his previous film, and had watched only promos of his films and I could see that he was a talented actor.
This is your first film with Katrina Kaif and by now she has become one of the most sought after actresses. How was your experience of working with her?
Katrina has really impressed me with the style of her work. Never having worked with her before, it was a kind of revelation to me. She is someone who cares deeply about her work and about the film. Her only interest lies in making it better. To Katrina details matter a lot.
Do you think by now the audiences are ready to accept Katrina as an Indian dulhan?
Whoever does not feel that by now will definitely feel that after watching the movie. In my opinion, this is her best performance till date.
What if you had fallen in love with your brother’s dulhan in real life? Would you have walked the distance of stealing her from him?
Now who is to say… Sometimes love happens... kya karen…