‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’: I wondered if I’d made a mistake by signing the film, says Imran

By Ananya Bhattacharya | Updated: Jan 09, 2013, 13:27 PM IST

Ananya Bhattacharya

Delhi: When Vishal Bhardwaj and his coterie from ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ took to addressing the media, some two odd hours after the scheduled time, he immediately clicked with his audience. Possibly, his way of making up for the delay. Guess that’s what comes from one who is as talented and versatile as Bhardwaj. Director, musician, singer, and now choreographer too – this man’s list of designations are both deserved and a long one.

Bhardwaj’s current outing, ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’, brings together sublime, colossal talents from both the stage and the screen – Pankaj Kapoor, Shabana Azmi on the one hand and Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma on the other. This motley cast is as diverse as the film itself. From the pink buffalo (Gulabi Bhains) to the African dancers, the canvas of ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ incorporates everything. The film is a satire, whose foundation is a spectrum of serious issues, guised in a comical garb. Land acquisition cases and scams make for the basic premise of the story, with characterisation being the most important element of them all.

Says Vishal, “The film revolves mostly around the characters and not as much around the plot. However, the plot of ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ is a very important one,” and adds with a laugh, “Gulabi Bhains and the African dancers too have very important roles to play in the film.”

The Haryanvi dialect that the film abounds in, according to Bhardwaj, “plays a central role in the film. That is the best part of India. Every 100 kilometres, one can find a new dialect. Perhaps that is the reason I have never been able to shoot abroad. Places like Switzerland would sure be a welcome break!”

Putting his finger squarely on veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor, Vishal points out that the thespian is his favourite actor on the planet. And as for Kapoor, he is “thankful to Vishal for the compliment.” Adds Pankaj Kapoor, “It has been a real pleasure working with Vishal. He knows his territory well, knows how to weave a story, sieve out the essence of it, and all the while making sure that the grasp over the story is never lost.”

Imran Khan, who was earlier more known for his boyishly handsome looks than his acting prowess, is all set to break out of his ‘chocolate-boy’ form. Donning a beard, Ray Ban aviators and a thet Haryanvi accent, Imran Khan admits that the role of Matru was a huge challenge for him.

“In my short career, I’ve never come across a role as challenging as this one. This has undoubtedly been my toughest performance so far. I had to learn Haryanvi, a very different way of speaking, had to change myself to portray an entirely new body language altogether. In creative fields such as ours, fresh things lead to a lot of enjoyment. And so is the case with ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola,” says Imran Khan.

“I was too scared about the role of Matru. I had to be trained for the role, work a lot harder. At times I was sure that I’d made a big mistake by signing this film,” admits the actor.

Imran Khan, who attended a workshop with National School of Drama theatre veteran NK Sharma for about a month and a half, believes that he learnt a lot of things during the duration. When the film hits theatres January 11, 2013, viewers would probably be more than eager to watch the cute Imran in his roguish, brash Haryanvi avatar. And at this point of time, he hopes that his hard work pays off really well!