Actor Irrfan Khan, who wowed the international audiences with his performances in ‘A Mighty Heart’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, says he is lucky to have bagged good roles in foreign films and wants to work with director Danny Boyle again.
‘I find myself very fortunate. The kind of films I chose in the West, I won’t get it anywhere,’ Irrfan told IANS in an interview.
The actor says he wants to team up with ‘Slumdog…’ director Danny Boyle again.
‘There are many other directors I would like to work with like the guy who made ‘Babel’ (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu). I would also like to work with Danny Boyle again. There are many. I was lucky that I got to work with directors like Mira Nair and Asif Kapadia,’ he said, adding that he would also like to work with director Martin Scorsese.
The actor is also all praise for the western critics. ‘In the west, they have the capability to discriminate between a role and what an actor adds to that role.
‘I did a very insignificant role in ‘Darjeeling Limited’ – I had two shots but when the film came out, the critics wrote two paragraphs about that scene,’ the 47-year-old actor said.
The actor, who was here for the world premiere of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, says the Indian cinema is witnessing an interesting phase – thanks to the arrival of new breed of filmmakers and the audiences.
‘This is a very interesting phase for our cinema as we are being able to make films like ‘Paan Singh Tomar’. There is a whole new generation – new breed of filmmakers and viewers that have come out,’ Irrfan said.
‘In Hollywood, they take an issue and turn it into a very engaging and entertaining film. We have not been able to do it. Earlier, Guru Dutt, K. Asif and Mehboob Khan were capable of doing it.
‘But after that, there was degeneration and films were mere empty entertainers, the makers were not able to incorporate layers in the scripts. But again, we are trying to achieve that by making films that are not solely dependent on glamour. The films talk about some issue like ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Taare Zameen Par’,’ he said.
‘Paan Singh Tomar’ is inspired by the real life story of steeplechase runner Paan Singh who won many medals and created records but was forced by circumstances to pick up the gun and wreak havoc in the Chambal valley.
‘This is a very interesting story. What fascinated me is the fact that the guy died but his story refuses to die. He was a national record holder, but there is no record about him. We tried to research about him, but no trace of him, this is how our system works.
‘It’s a very engaging drama about how he went into the Army, how he joined sports from there, how his life takes a turn and he did something unexpected. He ran for the country, but after some time the country chose to run after him and eliminate him,’ he said.
Irrfan says the script provided enough material for him to essay the role as realistically as possible.
‘I got enough material in the script. His wife, his son and his coach are alive. I met some of them. I also met some dacoits who were with him. But for me, the physical aspect was more important – like learning the techniques of steeplechase race as there is a certain technique to do hurdle race, so I had to learn that.
‘Then the language. It’s very easy to copy how people speak in Madhya Pradesh, but our responsibility is to bring the accent and at the same time make it understandable for the audience,’ said the actor, who injured himself while shooting the film.
‘I tore my right leg ligament and it happened while I was jumping. The height wasn’t much but I fell and hurt myself.’
While shooting for the film, he fell in love with the Chambal valley, a home to rebels and bandits.
‘Chambal is an excellent place. If this place would have been in America, it would have been the most popular tourist place. It’s so beautiful, so enigmatic and so mysterious – it’s breathtaking,’ he said.
The actor’s forthcoming Hindi films are ‘Ye Saali Zindagi’ and ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’.
(Arpana can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)