Interview With Imran Khan on Fiancee (GF) Avantika Malik and His Wedding Plans

Imran Khan doesn't hate Love Stories but he does hate the way it's spelt on the poster as 'I Hate Luv Storys'. That's something we have in common, I discovered on our third meeting at his beautiful, quaint house on Pali Hill. The first time I spoke to him, he came across as stubborn and pig-headed. The second time, he was polite but his dislike was thinly veiled. In our third encounter, he came across as straight, smart and sorted. I don't know what changed between our first chat and the last but there's definite improvement.

Imran Khan in a scene from I Hate Luv Storys

Maybe he is older and wiser or maybe he just decided to deal better with all things that come with stardom. I've always believed if you are talented, hardworking and get your attitude right, nothing can stop you in life. He always had the first two, now he has it all. A little luck is needed too, if you are in the movie business. Imran's even survived a spot of bad 'Luck' without any real damage. Now he's ready to woo the audiences with IHLS. Let's find out what he has to say.....

What is your idea of a love story?
I like love stories that have an element of realism to them. There was a tendency in the '90s to make these idealised versions of romance, which no relationship could live up to. So it's possible that some of them damaged many real life relationships. When films show what realistic relationships and real romance is, it's better. One film that nailed it very well is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind where she (Kate Winslet) fights with him and tells him (Jim Carrey) "I am like this and like that," and he says, "It's OK." I think real love is like that. I feel the real version of love is better than the fairytale version. The fact is that you are going to fight like hell and it's going to be horrible, but real love is where you are willing to take all that drama and all the bad stuff. That's real love.

That's a very mature way to look at life and love at 27.
Well, Avantika and I have been together a little short of eight years now. I have not had a lot of relationships. Four, maybe five and I feel that I learnt something from each one. Ultimately, what I have learnt is those fairytales things don't work out. I met a girl (cousin of a friend) once and I remember the first moment I laid my eyes on her. When I opened the door, I heard music (hums an opera tune) and the sun was setting behind her, and I was instantly in love with her. The girl ruined my life, she broke my heart, she literally destroyed my life, it was horrible. And there was Avantika, where there was no music, no bells, no sirens.

It wasn't love at first sight with Avantika?
No, nothing. I met her and thought, 'hey, that's a pretty girl' and we talked. I said hi when we met again and thought I like her quite a bit. And as it went on to grow into something much bigger. That is what has actually worked.

Imran Khan With fiance Avanthika Malik

Why the weird spelling for the title?
I tried... I tried hard... I tried my best to have it changed...

It doesn't have anything to do with the script?
NO! I don't know, maybe it's a number thing, I don't know why exactly. I've begged Karan ever since the day he told me the story. I even tried to convince him to put the 'luv storys' part in quotes. I hate 'luv storys', so its like you are making fun of love story or something like that.

Is the film really romantic?
It's full on. Boy and girl meet, boy and girl hate each other; boy and girl fight, boy and girl become good friends.

But it's real. Not fairytale?
Funnily enough, the overall treatment is very fairytale-ish, it ends on a real note.

Any reservations about working with a first-time director?
I somehow tend to work with first-time directors. The major part of it is that we speak the same language; we come from the same generation, so our tastes are similar. I haven't ever made a conscious decision that I must work with these directors or those directors. It just so happens that I get calls. Ten people call me, out of them I like three or five, and somehow, it just happens that those guys are young directors or first-time directors. It just works out that way.

How much of doing this film was because it's from the Dharma stable?
A major part of it. I feel that gives an actor a tremendous amount of security because somewhere you know that Karan has certain standards where he will not compromise on. Karan is very, very acutely aware that everything that goes out of Dharma goes out with his name on it, and he has this thing that anything with his name on it has to be perfect, he won't let it be anything less. He is not ready to sit back and relax. He still works like he's a newcomer; like he's a first-time producer and like his livelihood depends on it. He's actually one of the richest and most powerful producers in the country but he works on every film as though it will make him or break him, which is something that I respect tremendously. You know it's interesting, his process of working is actually the same as Aamir's. Their personal tastes in cinema are different, but they work the same. The way he sits on every single detail, he won't let anything go. I am talking costume, make-up, lyrics, cinematography. I have gone to meeting after meeting.

Aren't you like that as well?
Yes, I am a little bit, but I was amazed that he was. Because I have worked with Aamir and seen how he takes those pains and it can get to a point where it actually gets painful.

But that's why so many directors who deliver great films with Aamir aren't able to do so again with other actors. Because what worked was actually Aamir
Yes, I think they call it a curse in the industry, don't they? But I think -- it's my suspicion -- that Karan also might have such a curse attached to him.

Do you think love stories are a safer bet than action films or any other genre?
Not really, action films do very well with the masses. Look at Ghajini and Wanted. More recently, Prince hasn't done well in multiplexes but is doing great in single screens. In Bihar, Orissa they are loving it. Naked girls and action, etc always works, and that is always going to be the case around the world. Your janata-type crowd will always like maar-dhaad, they want to see stuff blowing up and girls in bikinis.

Too much time since your last release, and Ranbir, who debuted with you has had many releases. Any feelings of insecurity?
No, because I think Ranbir had a year between his first and second film.

But it seems like he's had more releases in between
That's because last year in Sept-Oct, he had three to four releases. That's in the last three months.

IHLS, Delhi Belly and Break Ke Baad. Now you will have three releases.
No, Delhi Belly won't release this year. Break Ke Baad will come this year-end, I think. Three films in one year is not the best release strategy. I don't think Ranbir was also happy about it when it happened to him.

Everybody keeps talking about you and Ranbir coming together for a project, is that happening anytime soon? How many films have you already been offered?
Nothing really has been offered. I think Ranbir and I are both waiting. Unless it's something big, there is no point. Cause the Filmfare award hosting that we did was very well-received. Everyone liked it a lot. People have seen us do that one thing together and had a great time. So if we do something else and fall short of it, then we will be crucified. So I am very wary of it and am guessing so is he.

You have no qualms about doing a two-hero film at this stage?
No, it depends on who it's with. If you are working with someone who you have regard and respect for and who you like as an actor, then it's all well and good. If you are working with someone, you don't like that much, why should you do it?

Why the delay with Delhi Belly?
It's just not done yet. Aamir hasn't sat on it. The shooting is done, we have done a cut of it and Aamir will sit and finish it. He can only do one film at a time, so the first priority went to Peepli Live. Peepli went to competition in Sundance, and it got a lot of attention there, so the focus went there. It's being shown so they need to finish it. Dhobhi Ghaat is pretty much done, I think. Kiran is finishing that. So Aamir will have to look at Peepli, then Dhobhi Ghaat and finally Delhi Belly, which I think should be out in April-May 2011.

What's Break Ke Baad about?
It's too early to talk about it. But it's a romantic coming-of-age which has comic elements. So it's 'dramedy'. I was sitting and thinking about the genre -- it's not a romantic comedy -- it also has serious moments, so it's a 'dramedy'. It is a very romantic film. It has a nice blend between realism and classic romance.

Speaking of romance... let's talk about your wedding plans. You've admitted that you are not going to have a religious thing, you are not a religious person?
I don't like to talk about religious beliefs publicly. I think it's a very tricky area. Someone, somewhere will get irritated with something I say. The thing is: I want it to be a small thing. See when we got engaged, I got engaged in the middle of shooting I Hate Luv Storys.

Imran Khan With Girl Friend Avantika Malik

Was that spontaneous?
It wasn't spontaneous. We decided it a couple of months ago. By that time, I was in the film. Everything happened and I wasn't there. So I took a few days off so I could be present at the engagement. And honestly, I wasn't too happy about that. So now, I would like to be a part of my wedding. So I want to do is figure out when I am shooting, when my films are releasing and when I can take time out.

So this year is out?
Yes, this year it won't be possible because I have I Hate Luv Storys then Break Ke Baad and then two other things, I am looking at. I think I might end up doing both of them cause I liked them both.

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