Will Katti Batti revive Imran Khan’s stalled career?

Aamir Khan’s dearest nephew has finally signed a new film opposite the Barfi! babe

Not so long ago, small time, yet flush with cash Bollywood producers with no access to A-listers were considering Imran Khan for their projects as he is a recognisable face and he was bound to be available on the cheap as his last few films were flops. Now, this is a terrible comedown for an actor who made his debut as a leading man with a bang with Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na. However, help is at hand in the form of Nikhil Advani who has signed Imran for his next Katti Batti alongside Ileana D’Cruz. Katti Batti is a far more edifying title than Saali Kutiya, which is what the project was formerly known as.

Nikhil Advani is an apt choice for Imran’s comeback project. Like Imran, Nikhil began with a bang with Karan Johar’s Kal Ho Naa Ho. After that however, his career slid into mediocrity with the likes of Salaam-E-Ishq, Chandni Chowk To China, Patiala House and Delhi Safari. Nikhil went back to his storytelling roots and came roaring back with the expertly made D-Day that also had decent box office numbers.

Imran followed Jaane Tu… with the dire Kidnap and Luck. With I Hate Luv Storys and Break Ke Baad, he seemed to have found his niche as the cute romantic hero. Delhi Belly was edgy and a game changer, and Imran had the central role, but his co-stars Kunaal Roy Kapur, Vir Das, Vijay Raaz and Poorna Jagannathan stole the show.

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan was another hit, but that film was correctly perceived as a vehicle for Katrina Kaif, with Imran and Ali Zafar filling in the blanks. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu alongside Kareena Kapoor passed muster at the box office but that was the beginning of the slide for Imran. He played against type in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. His unconvincing Jat accent, Pankaj Kapur’s mumbling, an idiosyncratic and overlong script and too many pink buffaloes sank the film, with only Anushka Sharma’s undergarments providing relief for clammy handed punters.

Imran was unconvincing and looked out of place in the strangely titled Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara! His attempt at playing a South Indian Brahmin, once again alongside Kareena Kapoor, in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein was ill received and the film was a resounding flop.

To be fair, Imran has tried time and again to take himself out of the chocolate boy comfort zone and play different characters and not get typecast. However, because he does not have the acting chops to pull diverse characters off, the audience has rejected him. Here’s hoping that Nikhil Advani gives him a role that plays to his strengths, yet requires him to stretch his range a bit.