Irfaan Khan is counted amongst the young breed of serious actors of Bollywood. But Irfaan is now trying his best to get rid of this tag and prove his versatility. He has partly succeeded in doing that with his role in "Life… in a Metro", now it's a step further with his international ventures. In his forthcoming film "Apna Asmaan" Irfan plays the character of Ravi, a middle-class father of a teenage intellectually handicapped boy Buddhi. The story focuses on how Ravi and his wife Padmini">Padmini (played by Shobana) endeavor to bring their son into the mainstream, which leads to an unfortunate turn of events. Irfan talks about the film, the comic streak in some of his roles in his forthcoming films and why he can never make a good director.
Q: What is so different in "Apna Asmaan" that attracted you?
A: We get offers of more than 10 stories everyday, among which there are some realistic roles that lack magnetism. The story of this film is not an imaginary one, but it has elements that forced me to believe that it has been well-experienced. At times, we do some unnatural things to make our lives more interesting. We do apply a lot of those things on our children, that too, without knowing about their likes and dislikes.
Q: What would you want to say to parents who stop their children from doing what they wish to do?
A: I would like to say this to all parents that they must understand what their children think and what they want to do. Children are always prone to do just about anything but it's the parents who have to understand where their real interests lie.
Q: How did you prepare yourself for the character?
A: As far as acting with children is concerned we don't need preparation. The pressure to succeed comes from everywhere, from within oneself, the society and the media. Then you slowly get addicted to success.
Q: On the one hand, you are doing Hollywood movies, and on the
other, you are also doing films like "Apna Aasman" which will be
released only in India…
A: Sometimes the specialty of the story or something else inspires us to work in a movie. Several times the character, as well as the story attracts us. Again sometimes we act in some film just to be famous in the international arena. As far as my present film is concerned, it's the story that almost obliged me to work in it.
Q: Would you like to tell us about the films that you have done for getting international fame?
A.: It would be little controversial to mention them.
Q: Keeping in mind the offers that you are getting these days, do you think that this is a better phase of your career?
A: I agree that I'm enjoying the characters I'm playing these days. At the same time, I wish that our film industry continues expanding to become a part of the international market. Till now, the market of Indian films abroad was confined only to NRIs. I think this is the beginning.
Q: As an actor you are known in Hollywood, too. Would you like to sign some other movies in Hollywood?
A: Not now. I'm busy planning my future now. But it's decided that I'll sign films. I want to act in films that attract a wider audience.
Q: You are known as a serious actor. But in "Life… in a Metro" you played a comic role?
A: It's due to you, the media, that I'm known as a serious actor. Besides "Life… in a Metro", my character in "The Best Seller" is also very entertaining. It was only after films like "Maqbool" and "Haasil" that the media branded me as a serious actor. After that, I started getting almost similar roles from big banners. I refused all of them to get rid of this tag.
Q: You have portrayed quite an interesting character in Rohit Shetty's "Sunday".
A: It's one of my favourite films. Rohit has created the characters in accordance with his own character which is quite fun-loving. I'm playing an unsuccessful actor who thinks he's talented but actually there's nothing like talent in him. He just goes on giving auditions. It's due to his characters in the auditions that he appears funny. Sometimes he plays the 'Don' mouthing dialogues in Hariyanvi. At other times, he puts on 10 masks to audition for Rajkumar Santoshi's "Ravan". You can imagine how funny the character would be.
Q: What's the specialty of your characters that people like you so much as an actor?
A: Is it really so? Even I don't know why they get attracted to me. I would like to give you the example of my film "Life… in a Metro". When Anurag told me about the character, I was sure of playing it. The way it passes through different stages is really interesting. Maybe it's because we rarely meet such people in real life….. But the entertaining part of it is what I liked most.
Q: What kind of character would you like to play in the future?
A: I'm playing different kinds of characters but I'm still looking for more options. I'm not bothered about my fame in the international market or just about how interesting the characters are. I am ready to so a film or two a year but they must be good projects.
Q: Would you like to try your luck in the field of direction?
A: I can never be a director. There are two reasons. Firstly, I like music but can I neither make it nor can I understand it. Then, I can't write which is most important for being a good director. As far as production is concerned, I produced some serials and telefilms before the film "Barrier". But that was beyond my understanding. The money, still involved in those projects, is the root cause of tension for me, rather my wife.
Q: These days stories are written keeping actors in mind. What's your opinion in this matter?
A: I'm not happy with that. I think the stories written in that way will be like a total confinement. I feel they are quite boring. I like the stories that are felt by heart before writing.
Q: Actors are now getting contracts of two or three films at one go. Have you ever received any such offer?
A: Not yet. I believe it gives one security but it is not always acceptable.
Q: Tell us about "Crazy 4" and Meera Nair's "Shantaram".
A: "Crazy 4" is interesting and has just hit the floor. There's nothing defined in "Shantaram" yet.
Q: Tell us about your forthcoming international films.
A: I have just completed a film titled "Darjeeling Limited". I haven't seen it yet. It may get screened at some fest. The director, Wes Anderson, is also an interesting character.
Q: Tell us about your other forthcoming projects.
A: The most important ones are Rohit Shetty's "Sunday", Rakesh Roshan's "Crazy 4", Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra's "Delhi 6" and Neeraj Pathak's "Right or Wrong". I'm also doing a musical thriller with Vishal Bhardwaj. It's on two Bhopalies who turn to be cheaters.