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European producers are ready to put money on me, says Irrfan Khan

Irrfan on his upcoming movie Talvar, and what the international success of The Lunchbox means to him.

Written by Sankhayan Ghosh |
Updated: September 15, 2015 12:00:10 am
Irrfan khan, Irrfan Talvar, bollywood Irrfan, bollywood news, The Lunchbox, Lunchbox Irrfan, entertainment, entertainment news, talk, indian express I want to be associated with great stories whether they are franchises or realistic. I wanted to be a part of Jurassic World for nostalgic reasons.

You are known to get into the skin of your character. But do you also play to the gallery?
I have done a lot of films which needed me to play to the gallery because they don’t need as much authenticity or flavour. They are made to entertain you and not to take you deep down into the soul of the character. They need personal charm and one-liners. Jazbaa, for example, is along those lines. I enjoy doing that. On the first day of shooting Jurassic World, a scene required me to take the helicopter up and say: “I don’t need anybody else”. Its director Colin Trevorrow told me, ‘Give me a one liner, don’t play it realistically’. The kind of summer blockbuster that Jurassic World was, that kind of heroism, saving the world kind of flamboyance, is required.

In Talvar, your role is loosely based on an officer who was investigating the Aarushi Talwar murder case. How did you approach the role?
When I read the film’s script, I was shocked that there were so many details that we didn’t know. I have a concern with people forming opinions on the basis of media reports. Sometimes, even the judiciary gets influenced by that. That’s not a sign of an evolving nation. We should be able to find our own truths. People are saying many things about the Sheena Bora murder case as well. People will suffer more if they don’t take charge of their own perceptions.
I had to do the same while working on my character. When I met the investigating CBI officer, I asked him many questions. Through him, I came to know all the shocking elements in the story which was not out in media. But I couldn’t take everything that he told me at face value. Otherwise, the whole point is lost. If I believe in everything he told me, which is his version, then what am I bringing in as an actor? I have to have a detachment and draw my own inferences. My character is like the voice of conscience in the film.

You have struck that balance between commercial viability and artistic integrity. Why do you still sign films that you know aren’t always great cinema?
I am a part of an industry which makes all kinds of films. I need to live in a decent way, need to have my comforts. We sometimes do things we are not too convinced with, but we do them because they are going be popular. Ideally, I would like to do films that I personally engage with. That’s what really our struggle as actors is all about. To find a space where I only do films where I have full conviction. Films like that in India are growing, and today, I have much better choices than five years ago. But it’s still not enough.

You have acted in some major Hollywood blockbusters such as Amazing Spiderman and Jurassic World. What’s the motivation to do such films?
When it comes to international films, I look at the director’s capability of communicating a story that overcome the barrier of language. I want to be associated with great stories whether they are franchises or realistic. I wanted to be a part of Jurassic World for nostalgic reasons. I borrowed money to watch Jurassic Park. I still remember the second or third last row from where I saw the first glimpse of the park, shown from the perspective of a helicopter.

You are also doing Inferno with Tom Hanks that releases next year.
It is a very special film because it has Tom Hanks and is directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind). Sharing screen space with Tom and working with Ron was mindboggling. They have achieved so much and yet remained down to earth and full of energy, as if they are making their first film.

How do you see yourself placed in international cinema?
I did The Lunchbox and Qissa to explore the European market. Thanks to the success of the former, European producers are ready to put money in a film with me in lead. I am reading a few scripts, I am going to meet a few people in Canada and Lithuania. My role model is Omar Sharif, who came somewhere from the Middle East to Hollywood and became a phenomenon.

Your video with All India Bakchod was quite a riot. How was the experience?
They came to me and showed me the lyrics and I said, “Done, let’s do it”. I loved it instantly. It was telling the right thing. It was a lot of fun.

What are the other films you have currently?
After Talvar and Jazbaa, I have Anup Singh’s The Song of Scorpions. I have done a Canadian television mini-series. I am in talks with others for several projects, but they haven’t been confirmed yet.

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