By Sonya Rehman
Recently in Dubai for the promotions of their film, Katti Batti, Kangana Ranaut and Imran Khan speak about their roles in the upcoming Bollywood movie and dish out advice on love and relationships…
Could you tell me a bit about your character, Payal?
Kangana: I can’t really reveal everything about the character but as the story unfolds, we get to see various aspects of her personality and that’s the mystery of the film. When the story begins, Imran’s character has already lost his partner and is looking for her. It unfolds like a thriller. But all I can say is, by far, she’s the most intense character that I’ve played. Payal has many layers, and that will make it very intriguing for the audience.
I was reading an interview of yours where you said that this character made you feel very emotional. Is that true?
Kangana: Yes. It’s a very draining character…a true, blue, tragic character that I’ve played [Smiles]. So far the characters that I’ve played are those who aren’t loved, or who’ve been, in some way or the other, ridiculed or accepted by society. Things like that. But when you see Payal’s crisis, the rest is all child’s play.
Imran: [Chuckles] Maddy’s quite an unremarkable guy…in my opinion, what really sets him apart is this deep, mad love that he has for Payal. His love for Payal is what defines him. It’s what gives him purpose in life: he literally feels, this is the reason why I was born, to love this woman. I found it really endearing – it’s a really wonderfully romantic thought, and for the most part I don’t think we really don’t deal with emotions like that anymore.
That’s so true…
Imran: For the most part you know, we make romantic films that have a lighter touch to it – there’s a shallowness of emotion. And this is deep, mad, true, passionate love. I like that…
Were there certain aspects of his personality that you could relate to?
Imran: Yeah. See the thing is, by the time the film starts, their relationship of seven years has ended. So they’ve been through all of the nice stuff, and after that, inspite of the ugly stuff, he’s not willing to let go. He’s like, no matter how bad it got, I still want her, love her, I’m not willing to give up on her. And if you’ve been in a long-term relationship, that’s something you can relate to. Because Avantika [my wife] and I have been together for thirteen years now – there’s ups and downs, and at bad times it’s very easy for anyone to say, buss chor do…
It’s quite common these days…
Imran: It’s very common. But then to say, no, I’m not going to give up, I have faith in her – that’s something I could relate to.
Why do you think that’s something the young generation is losing sight of?
Imran: It becomes very easy to make these decisions. Modern life is such that if you don’t like something, change it, fix it – while that is great, it deters from: hold on, maybe I can make this better, rather than dropping it because I don’t like it.
What do you think Kangana?
Kangana: Yes, to an extent, the generation has changed and everything is so accessible to them – but above everything else, the kind of role models they’re following…it’s going to impact what it means to have a good moral fibre. Everything in the olden days that was supposed to be bad and forbidden is being worshipped now. It could be a lack of character, going after money, being vulgar and disrespectful; it’s now being admired in society. We need to change who we consider role models, that’s how society will change.
In light of Payal’s character, do you think being an independent woman who’s slightly detached from relationships is a good thing? Because nowadays women are moving towards detachment in love, not being needy…
Kangana: Being clingy is one thing, but when someone completes you emotionally, that’s another thing. But yes, being a woman, you tend to be more emotional, because that’s how we’re made. But most working women tend to have this façade: that they’re not clingy, and are a bit detached and cold. But deep down, it’s a natural instinct for them to nurture and feel a sense of longing. To fight that instinct can also be a big fight. So yes, life is hard, isn’t it? [Laughs]
Imran, are men more attracted to the hard to get woman?
Imran: It’s not just nowadays yaar, men always chase the women that they can’t have!
Imran: Instinct! Going way back, men were hunters and gatherers – so they look around and go, which woman is out of my league? Who’s the girl who has absolutely no interest in me? I have to catch her!
So it’s about the big conquest?
Imran: Yes – because yeah, when I met Avantika I was like, oof, this girl is out of my league…mera toh koi chance nahin hay. Still I tried!
…and you got her!
Imran: And I won!
Kanagana, what’s your work process? Do you take a week off to let the character sink in? How do you do it?
Kanagana: I work in a very organic sort of way. I do a lot of readings of the script, plant a few seeds of the character in my brain and then I let it grow.
And you, Imran?
Imran: I like to have a couple of months before we start shooting to do rehearsals, character workshops with my director and co-actors. I find it very helpful because you get to see what’s working and what’s not working.
What one quirky quality are you attracted to in the opposite sex?
Kangana: Sense of humour – if a guy teases me about the way I do things, it shows good observation skills.
Imran: Wit. It’s a value that’s strangely not encouraged in women, for whatever reason it’s not considered desirable in women. I find it very attractive.
That one quality that repels you in the opposite sex?
Kangana: Body odour.
Imran: Bad manners.
Kangana: Can you elaborate?
Imran: As in, people who are rude, inconsiderate, that kind of thing.
The three red flags that you’d look out for when meeting a potential?
Imran: If she says; I don’t get on with women at all, all my friends are guys. Also, if she claims to hate drama.
Kangana: If he’s too into video games and apps – it’s a full turn off. Second, if he doesn’t understand poetry and shows insensitivity to art and third, you know how these rich brats are? They have nannies.
Imran: I have a nanny for my daughter, but apney liye nahin [Laughs].
Kangana: But those rich brats who roam around with an entourage all the time – it can be quite a put off.
The most romantic thing someone’s done for you?
Kangana: I was preparing for a role, and this guy I was dating, made a compilation of pictures, inspired by my character. That was really sweet.
Imran: I don’t have a good answer…women don’t…
Kangana: …oh shut up! The other day I had these cookies made by Avantika for him – it’s so romantic!
Imran: Haan theek hay, I’ll go with that.
Advice for someone nursing a broken heart…
Imran: [Laughing at Kangana’s answer] Boy’s trip!
Boys trip? What about the girls?
Imran: Girl’s trip!
You’re going on a date, how would you impress your date?
Kangana: You know I’m single, I don’t have an answer for this one.
Imran: See, this is the problem because you don’t know how to impress!
Imran: Thora kuch karo…
Kangana: There’s a reason why I’m single.
Imran: Listen, we’re going to get you sorted out once we get to Mumbai. I’ll find you a nice, artsy, sensitive kind of guy.
Kangana: Okay, the responsibility is Imran’s now.
Imran: How to impress a girl? I think, let her see that you want to impress her. You know, use deodorant, wear a nice shirt, comb your hair, it goes a long way with women.