Imran Khan has been active on social media more than ever before. On Monday, the actor talked about one of his not-so-successful projects: Vishal Bharadwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. Released in 2013, the film also starred Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapur, and Shabana Azmi. Imran Khan revealed that Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola was “launched” with Ajay Devgn as Matru. However, the actor backed out before the filming could commence. Imran shared that he was “anxious and terrified through the shoot of the film” as he “couldn’t shake the feeling” that Vishal Bharadwaj had never really wanted him [Imran Khan] for this part. While Imran Khan is “proud as hell” of the “bold experiment”, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola was “skewered” upon its release.
In his long note, Imran Khan wrote, “I was never supposed to be Matru. The film was launched with Ajay Devgn attached as Matru, but he chose to withdraw before filming could commence. I was riding high off the back-to-back successes of Delhi Belly and MBKD [Mere Brother Ki Dulhan], and close to wrapping the shoot of EMAET [Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu] when I got the call; Vishal Bharadwaj wanted to meet me! I was thrilled. He told me about his passion project, a story he had been carrying close to his heart. It [Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ was a film about greed, the economic exploitation of farmers, and the menace of unregulated development. It struck a chord with me, but I was hesitant; I would have to learn Haryanvi, and be ready to roll in less than three months! How on earth was I to pull this off?”
Imran Khan also did a few workshops with the legendary NK Sharma to learn about Haryanvi, who “was the first person to point out the negative voice” in the actor’s head. Imran Khan continued, “To accomplish this, I moved to Delhi and started intensive workshops with the legendary NK Sharma and some of his students. Panditji, as we affectionately called him, was the first person to point out the negative voice in my head. ‘You only listen to the voice that tells you you are worthless’, he told me, ‘why do you disrespect the thousands of voices that say they love you?’ I listened to his words, but I didn’t really hear them.”
Imran Khan revealed he didn’t even watch the final cut of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. He said, “I was anxious and terrified through the shoot of the film. I couldn’t shake the feeling that Vishal had never really wanted me for this part, that my casting was based more on the budget that my presence could afford than the director’s belief in me. And so it came to be that once we wrapped the shoot, I turned tail and ran, never looking back. I didn’t even watch the final cut of the film when it was done.”
Even though the Vishal Bharadwaj directorial tanked at the box office, Imran Khan is “proud as hell.” According to the actor, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola was a “bold experiment” and it was a “story that needed to see the light of day.”
“Having a surreal, absurdist tone, the film was pretty well skewered upon release… but what can I say, I’m proud as hell of this movie. It was a bold experiment, a story that absolutely needed to see the light of day, and I consider it my privilege to have been a part of the team that made it happen,” the actor added.
Imran Khan also revealed that he couldn’t ride a motorcycle when he was signed, so he learned to ride a bullet in between shots while filming the Aunty Ji song from Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. Bonus? Imran shared a picture of himself in the Matru get-up seated on a bullet.
“PS. I couldn’t ride a motorcycle when I signed on, so I had to take lessons. I learned to ride Matru’s Bullet in between shots while filming the ‘Auntyji’ song from EMAET,” he signed off.
Reacting to the post, former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s wife, actress Hazel Keech, wrote, “I am sorry you went through all of this. It’s incredibly brave of you to voice your heart out here on this platform and share your darkness with us. It makes out own inner voices feel less lonely.”
Days ago, in an interview with The Lallantop, Vishal Bharadwaj backed Imran Khan saying, “We have been conditioned to think he [Imran Khan] is a bad actor. I am not saying he is Uttam Kumar or Dilip Kumar, but we have been conditioned. Whenever anyone has watched the movie outside, who doesn’t have a reference to Imran Khan, no one has told me that he’s a weak actor. It’s a very strange thing. It’s been years since I’ve watched the movie and maybe once I watch it now, I would also think, like the rest of India, that he doesn’t know acting. But this was a fact.”
The filmmaker also revealed that Ajay Devgn had opted out of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola for Son Of Sardaar.
“I couldn’t shake the feeling that Vishal had never really wanted me for this part,” wrote Imran Khan