“I was anxious and terrified through the shoot of the film. I couldn’t shake the feeling that Vishal (Bhardwaj) had never really wanted me for this part”, wrote Imran Khan while revisiting Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola.
The 2013 satirical black comedy film Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, featured Pankaj Kapur, Anushka Sharma, and Imran Khan in the leading roles. While revisiting the film on Monday, September 18, Imran Khan revealed that he was never the first choice to play Matru in the film.
“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 Bhardwaj wanted to meet me! I was thrilled. He told me about his passion project, a story he had been carrying close to his heart”, the actor wrote on Instagram.
Talking about the film’s underlying themes and his preparation for the role, he added, “It 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? 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 also shared that he didn’t watch the final cut of the film when it was released. “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”, he continued.
Concluding his thoughts, Imran wrote that he is ‘proud as hell’ of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola as he wrote, “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. 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!”.
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