A YEAR ago, Imran Khan was seen nowhere in Bollywood. Then he was cast in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, and every woman in India aged over 15 had heard about him. Suddenly, here was an actor who had tapped into the fantasies of a generation of girls who were still wearing braces and driving with learner's licences.

He helped to bring back sweater vests, slim-fit suits and skinny ties.

And he reminded us of the great James Dean, proving that a wardrobe of well-cut basics is as potent today as it was a half century ago.

I arrange to speak to him and arrive by rickshaw. Imran Khan's gatekeeper opens the door and I enter his vintage-looking bungalow, on the hill slope at Bandra's Pali Hill. He is giving an interview to a female journalist.

The dude is looking crisp. Diesel denims, awhite, hand-painted slim-fit T-shirt and brown flip-flops make him look more comfortable than ever, as with a lot of things in his life: music, acting, clothing line and his dream business.

But when Imran Khan gets talking, you are aware that he is more than just another buffed and pretty face.

In the first of a two-part series, he talks about James Dean, Marlon Brando, his fans, his perfectly trimmed suits, his cars, his love for London, its food, beer and ale and much more.

James Dean and Marlon Brando

This may sound spooky, but just above your shoulder is a picture of James Dean. What I liked about him was that he was an awkward guy. He literally brought in a different style of acting, right from his first film, East of Eden.

Back in the 50s, acting was very stylised, the dialogues were artificial, and then there was one guy who did something weird. It's like seeing a maverick doing something completely out of the ordinary. He had a style of his own.

If you watch Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire you get the same feel. James Dean was raw. All the others were ripe. To see an actor being that radical was surprising.

Dean and Brando were men who never really combed their hair and still look charismatic. You imbibe things when you watch actors like them.


Meeting your fans or audiences face-to-face gives your film that little push. So if I go to London or New York and a local photographer takes my picture, he feels better.

I like to meet journalists and fans in person. The audience feels that I am taking trouble to come to meet them. They feel a little more that I am reaching out to them. If I have a handshake with a fan, I am winning that person's heart permanently. If I am rude to my fan, I will lose him permanently and I'm sure about that.

Style statement

I am influenced quite a bit from the West as far as my styling goes - I don't wear a lot of Indian clothes. The actual styling is done by my stylist, Harmeet. He has done my styling for my new film, Luck, and almost all my photoshoots.

For me, suit styling has got to be always based on the Ocean's Eleven trilogy. Brad Pitt and George Clooney wore suits as if they were carrying jeans and a T-shirt.

Skinny ties are in and you have to match up to the world and not the West.

We all forget that we do the same things as people in London, New York or Tokyo. We listen to our iPods, watch the same English films, try to wear the same type of clothes as celebrities, and so on.


A BMW is my type of a car. It is a great fun car, it is small and it is like you are go-karting while you are driving.

The Porsche SUV I have is more for practical reasons. I can pack all my luggage in there, my crew, my assistant and my boy who takes care of all the petty stuff while shooting. I say it's an all-in-one car for more reasons than just one.


My family has never let me down but there was a point in my life and career where I thought that I had let Aamir Khan down.

It was when I was shooting Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. I wasn't able to give as much to it as I could have. I was cribbing about it. Aamir made me aware of the movie business and made me see the harsh realities of how the business inside and outside functions. I know it now myself, because I am four films old.

Star power

Star power does not affect my life if I am walking down the streets of Mumbai - forget London or the US. In the next two years, if there comes a point that I can't step out of my house, I'll have to do it - as SRK, Salman and Hrithik do because there'll be a stampede if the people see them roaming the streets of any country. I will be able to do this once I become a star power.


I live in H&M and Topshop! I was there last month doing a photoshoot and came out of one of the H&M shops with two bags filled with T-shirts and accessories.

If I find something I like I pick that up in each colour. So if I find a good-looking shirt I'll pick that up in black, blue, white, purple and red. If the clothes fit me well I take 'em.

It may sound strange but I somehow don't like men's eaux de toilette. You will never see me wear a cologne. It's a non-film star thing, I know, unlike film stars who wear Davidoff Cool Water or Polo Sport all the time.

Beers and ales

I've got to say one thing about London. I love the beer, man. I love the real country pubs out there. I do not eat anything till I sample one of each pints of London Pride, Fuller's, the real British beers. I hate Stella Artois though.

I am celebrating right now in Mumbai. I am dancing around because for the first time ale is made available in India. I have never really cared for hard liquor but love the beers and the ales. What I'd really like is to open an ale and a beer house over here. I'd love to open a place like that in Mumbai. I mean, I'd live there.

London food

There are a lot of good tapas places in London, especially the one in Covent Garden called La Tasca. You get some great tapas food and Spanish dishes. It's an awesome place to have a nice dinner. On the other hand, my girlfriend loves Wagamama food. We have to have one meal a day in Wagamama if we are in London. You get some good noodles and salad there.