‘You can’t fake chemistry’

Friends and colleagues Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone let us in on how they got to know each other and what makes them a ‘hit’ onscreen couple

By Davina Raisinghani (davina@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Mon 22 Nov 2010, 10:32 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:01 PM

IT WAS AT a pre-filming bash thrown by producer Kunal Kohli for the cast and crew of Break ke Baad that Deepika Padukone and Imran Khan went from being mere social acquaintances to friends. And what helped break the proverbial ice? Well, note the actors to City Times, it was their height difference, or the lack thereof.

While Padukone stands comfortably at an impressive five feet nine inches, a figure that puts most catwalk regulars to shame, the five-foot-ten Khan is simply happy to beat his co-star by a modest inch.

But it wasn’t just the inconsequential, although satisfying, disparity between the heights of the duo that helped them bond.

“We didn’t really have a friendship before Break ke Baad,” says Khan over the phone from the sets of Mere Brother ki Dulhan in Patiala, Punjab. “I only got to know Deepika once we started working together. But from day one, from the first take of the first scene that we were shooting together, I knew that we would click.”

Padukone, who later spoke to us from Mumbai, seems to be in complete agreement with the actor. “What I like most about Imran is that he is very giving and supportive. He does not have a selfish side to him at all.”

However, she continues, her acting style is very different from that of Khan’s, much to their director Danish Aslam’s initial concern. Padukone swears by spontaneity, whilst her co-star is astonishingly meticulous.

“We did many rehearsals and readings together. That’s how Imran is. He likes to know exactly what he’s doing before he gets in front of the camera and I’m quite different from that. But we learnt to accommodate each other,” adds the actress.

Meanwhile, according to Khan, Padukone helped him through his weak spots, “I relied on her a lot. In fact the two of us really carried each other’s weight, because that’s what good co-stars do. Deepika has really grown leaps and bounds with every film that she has done.”

‘They’re a hit’

It’s almost impossible to catch any Bollywood buff that is not at least intrigued by the idea of watching Padukone and Khan play a couple in the coming-of-age romance. In fact, after watching the promos of Break ke Baad, the pair has received several compliments for their onscreen chemistry.

“There’s no formula to chemistry,” explains Padukone. “Sometimes there’s just a certain pairing that people take to a lot more than the others. It’s hard to figure why it works or doesn’t. We were very comfortable with each other, which is why it looks as effortless as it does.”

On the other hand, Khan claims that he can immediately tell when his pairing with an actress will be appreciated, and more often than not, it depends on how close he is to said co-star.

“I know from the get-go whether or not I will look right with someone. I’ve been lucky enough to never find myself in a bad situation where I’ve been paired with someone that I just won’t work with. But, honestly, you can’t fake chemistry and you can’t work on it. I became very close to Deepika during the filming and that’s what you see onscreen.”

Say no to space

In an avatar that’s relatively alien to her, Padukone is seen in Break ke Baad playing a commitment-phobic aspiring actress, who wants to move to Australia to further her career.

“Aaliya is very ambitious, independent person and she wants to achieve a lot for herself. I identify with that part of her. But at the same time she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in commitment, love, relationships and marriage. So those are things that I didn’t identify with.”

Waiting in the wings for Aaliya is her childhood sweetheart Abhay, as played by Khan. And fortunately for the actor, he found it pretty easy to step into the shoes of his old-fashioned, traditionally romantic character.

“What I like about my character is that he’s a classic romantic kind of guy. He believes that when you fall in love, it’s forever. He believes that there’s just that ‘one’ person. I found that very endearing.”

And so the fictional couple decide to take a break because of their different perspectives. But where do Padukone and Khan stand on the need for space when it comes to their very real relationships?

“I believe giving each other space in a relationship is very important but I never really understood the concept of taking a break. Somehow it just doesn’t seem right,” asserts Padukone.

A view that Khan completely agrees with. And since he’s on the verge of tying the knot with his long-term girlfriend Avantika Malik, he’s even more pro-commitment than his co-star.

“I believe in committing to someone a hundred per cent. Taking breaks doesn’t make any sense to me at all. I think you’re either in a relationship or you’re not.

“Sure there should be breathing space and boundaries. You should be able to do your own things. I’ve been in relationships that have not worked out and when that happened I knew it wasn’t right and I went ahead and cut the cord.”

"I’ll be working with Imran in a few weeks for Karan’s next movie Short Term Shaadi. He seems like a very intense young fellow. An actor is only successful if he has a good director and script to back him up. I hope these young ones get excellents filmmakers and movies to work with. Because they definitely have a lot of talent and it shouldn’t go to waste.”- Boman Irani

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