There's something fresh about Bollywood these days. While genres have more or less remained the same, there is a new lot of directors approaching films differently and experimenting with their material. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is one such film. The film, the title of which roughly translates to You and I, brings together an odd couple — Kareena Kapoor is paired with Imran Khan, who is younger than her both in the film and in real life.
To be released just before Valentine's Day, Ek Main... is a story about two very different people who wake up one morning in a haze in Las Vegas, following a night of debauchery, and realise they are married to each other. Their decision to get their marriage annulled and the ensuing relationship that develops between them forms the crux of the film.
Kapoor and Khan were on a whirlwind tour of Dubai last weekend to promote the comedy. Despite the airline losing Khan's baggage, the pair were in a jovial mood as they met the press in the morning and did a photo shoot at At the Top, Burj Khalifa, which tabloid! was exclusively a part of.
Kapoor, visibly scared of heights, held on to Khan's hand and even dissuaded him from looking down from the 124th floor of the world's tallest building. Later that evening they met fans at the Arabian Centre in Mirdif where they were seen throwing red roses and audio CDs of Ek Main... to hundreds of fans who came to see them.
Khan, who surprised everyone with a full beard, later explained he was growing it for his next film, Matru Ki Bijlee Mandola, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.
Excerpts from the interview.
How come you chose to dance on Kolaveri Di at the Apsara Awards?
Kapoor: It's a nice song.
Khan: You danced on it? What's the connection?
Kapoor: It was fun. Just for the heck of it.
In one of your interviews you said Ranbir Kapoor being her cousin couldn't act opposite her...
Khan: It was not me but the journalist who said that.
So who are your contemporaries? Do you think there are no rules when it comes to pairing the actors in Bollywood?
Khan: It really is a function of what the story is and the characters are. That is the only thing that will determine. Right in the beginning, when Ek Main... was announced and people got to know that we were being paired, so many of them said, ‘Imran and Kareena? What are you talking about? This won't work, the pairing would look so crazy'. But the minute the first teaser was shown, the same set of people said that we looked cute on screen. It's because we suit the characters. But if the script was written differently, chances are it would not have worked out. So there is no way you can guarantee any of the stuff.
How much of Kareena do we see in Riana Braganza?
Kapoor: I think quite a bit. Like Imran said she is a bit more weird on screen. She is a bit more crazy but also very positive. She is like a sunshine girl. There is never a dull moment with her around. She knows which direction she is going and is sure of herself.
Does that help in her helping Rahul facing his fears and opening up to his parents?
Khan: It's not so much about the fears. It's also about the realisation that he is a guy who's living someone else's life. He is someone who doesn't even know there's something wrong and she is the one who says ‘hey your boat is leaking' and he takes note of it. He is the kind of guy who is happily paddling the boat and not realising he's sinking. This is the girl who shows him and that is what spurs him into action.
As someone who married his sweetheart of many years in real life, did you find the role tough?
Khan: Nobody really thinks of their personal life when they sign up a film. Otherwise actors won't play the role of rapists and murderers on screen.
If you were not married, would you have taken the time to court a girl, know her and then get hitched? Or like in the film, you could have got married overnight and then...
Khan: I place tremendous value in personal relationships.
Kapoor: I don't think Imran is that kind of a guy who would marry someone in a drunken state and that too in a single night's courtship.
What about you?
Kapoor: No, me neither.
Are you are doing another movie together?
Kapoor: I think if this one works then maybe. Nothing has been finalised yet. One talks about things.
Is this film a copy of What Happens In Vegas?
Khan: Anyone who has seen What Happens In Vegas would not ask this question. They are two completely different films. That film is about a couple winning a lottery and then having to stay together. Our film is about a girl showing a guy what he is missing in life. There is no conning, no jackpot and no court order. The similarity begins and ends with the fact that it's been filmed in Vegas, which is also the theme of movies like The Hangover, Two to Tango and certain episodes of Friends.
Kapoor: I think its very convenient for people to say that it's a copy of What Happens in Vegas.
Why was the title changed from Short-Term Shaadi to Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu?
Kapoor: Short-Term Shaadi was a working title. It was what people were talking about. We never considered it to be the final name. I don't even know how it got out.
Who is better to romance onscreen, Aamir Khan or Imran Khan?
Kapoor: I think both. I think it's a pleasure to have worked with both in one year. It was the second time around with Aamir. In 2011, within a year I worked with him and then with Imran. I am a big fan of Aamir anyway and everybody knows that. And in this movie Imran and I are both looking very fresh. And if this works well, you never know we might be paired again.
Do you think there are more comedies being made in Bollywood? Does it stem from the fact that people are very stressed so they feel good after having a good laugh?
Khan: This is a very easy thing for people to say in retrospect that comedies are now working very well. People want to see only entertaining films. Outside people want to see things only in retrospect. There are any number of comedies and any number of action movies that have not done well. It does not matter. It should be just an interesting, entertaining film.
With the kind of social media-related marketing involved, do you think films are getting a far better response?
Kapoor: With the world becoming a shrinking place, we have realised that more people are watching movies.
Khan: The audience is really growing and it's really surprising to see the number of non-Indians watching the films. Social media is very small and still not that big. In the next three to four years it will be huge. This is the right time for us to start building it. With this film, we have started the process. We are filming a video blog and uploading it on YouTube. It's started to form a relationship.
Don't you think its unfair to announce a film to be a blockbuster in two days' time whereas in earlier times we waited for it to complete 25 weeks?
Khan: If a film runs for 50 days these days it will be an all-time blockbuster. These days, a majority of films make money in the first three days. Agneepath made over Rs210 million [Dh15 million] on the first day of its release. Now, if a film is made in Rs300 million and if it earns Rs160 million in the first three days, it's a bonafide hit. So the fact is that people are going to watch the movie. My last couple of films have all functioned on that. From films like Bodyguard and RA.One, they all made Rs1 billion on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Are you wearing a Ritu Kumar outfit on your wedding?
Kapoor: When is my wedding? [Laughs] I think these speculations are all bizarre. Right now my focus is only on my films.
You are really looking good after having got rid of the size zero fascination.
Kapoor: I think size zero was at a time when my role and character needed it in a film. Everybody is relieved now and so am I. [Laughs] Yes, I am feeling good.