Imaad In ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan,’ Explained: Why Did Imaad Cheat On Simran?


The most interesting thing about Imaad in Kho Gaye Hum Kahan is his self-awareness yet subsequent denial of his feelings. One of the more striking scenes of the film was when Imaad and Neil were fighting after the former’s stand-up set, and Neil pointed out all those things about Imaad, calling him emotionally stunted and a few other things, and Imaad didn’t react one bit. He didn’t look hurt, angry, or even embarrassed. He looks at Neil as if the man is just stating facts. We know that this was the intent of the character because if Imaad was supposed to show emotion, Siddhant Chaturvedi (the actor playing him) could have managed it. After the fight, Imaad even tells Ahana that he doesn’t have a problem with Neil. That is an odd thing, since why would someone not be angry after hearing such hurtful things? It has to mean that Imaad had accepted these things about himself long ago, and he admits them at the end of the film. For Imaad, Neil was just someone who had seen the real him, and he did not grudge him for that. We may question whether Imaad was being a little cold to Neil on the day of the party, but we should remember that Imaad had just broken up with his girlfriend at that time. He was finally paying the price of not facing his issues and running away from his feelings. That is probably why he did not want to make up with Neil then and there—because it would involve acknowledging the fight and his feelings, which he was not prepared to do yet.

Another way to look at this is that Imaad was someone who would do anything to avoid big feelings. That could be why he did not hold a grudge against Neil, because doing so would involve feeling things. In one of the earlier scenes between Imaad and his therapist, Imaad insists that he is alright and tries to turn the subject towards her cardigan. First of all, it was not a ‘cute’ cardigan, and secondly, it shows that Imaad will do anything to avoid a confrontation or a conflict. Let us note that the therapist was paid for by Imaad’s father. Imaad would not have gone to the therapist by himself, and when his father insisted that he go, Imaad could have refused or put his foot down. But Imaad did not want that confrontation with his father, which would have eventually led to a talk about the past and its effect on both men. Imaad could sense the direction of the conversation, which is why he avoided it at all costs.

Also, when asked why Imaad chose to be a stand-up comic, he says that he did it because he was very sad. That line is a total cliche, but for the sake of context, let us assume that it is extremely deep and has never been heard before. That is the first hint Kalki Koechlin’s character should have taken about Imaad’s avoidant tendencies. Humor is an instant mood changer, and making a joke is the best way to change a topic or escape some feelings about things. If Imaad’s career as a comedian was the result of him trying to escape his sadness instead of a desire to make people laugh, that just goes to show how his communication will be in any given relationship. We suppose that is the reason he made all those jokes about Neil, because he never realized that not everyone wants to make light of their troubles in life.

It is not easy to make this statement, but perhaps Imaad was a sensitive guy hiding under the ‘devil may care’ attitude. Once Neil told him that he had a different perspective regarding those jokes, Imaad found that he could not go ahead with it. He understood and respected that about his friend, but we also believe that Imaad realized that hiding behind his jokes was not fooling anyone. People were not stupid. They may laugh at his jokes and leave him alone to deal with his demons, but that does not mean that they did not see them. His friends were always by his side to support him and stand by his side through his tough times. However, this meant that they understood what he was going through, whether he told them that or not. Once Imaad realized that he was not fooling anyone, he decided that he did not want to fool himself either.

Imaad wasn’t shy about the fact that he liked Simran (Kalki Koechlin’s character), but he still saw other people. That is because Imaad did not trust Simran to not break his heart. The other people in his life on the dating apps were a means of making sure that he would always have enough emotional support in case things went south with Simran. But that is where he was mistaken. Though he found someone to go out with after the breakup, Imaad knew it wasn’t the same. Closing oneself off may protect from heartbreak, but it also means that people don’t experience the joys of true intimacy brought by love and trust. Once Imaad understood that, he was ready to work on his emotional blocks to move forward in life.

In the final scene, where Imaad is talking about being sexually abused in his childhood, he makes a joke about his childhood self doing anything for chocolates. That reminds us of something his therapist had said earlier, about shame and how it festers the more we try to hide it. Imaad was ashamed of letting himself go through that for the sake of chocolates. He grew up and learned the theory that his childhood self was not at fault, but he was unable to accept it until then. His telling his story to a room full of strangers was his way of declaring his secret in such a manner that it couldn’t hurt him anymore. In the words of Tyrion Lannister, you wear your personality like armor. You don’t hide it behind jokes or protect it through avoidant behaviors because people can always see through that and use that to hurt you. But the biggest lesson is that if people don’t do that, you end up doing it to yourself. There is always a price for inauthenticity, after all.

On that note, maybe it is good timing for Imaad to change his career into that of an investor. After all, his jokes weren’t that funny, to begin with, and there is no telling how his humor will change now that they are not a defense mechanism. It is the happy ending we did not expect for him.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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