Irrfan Khan has indeed come a long way. Starting with bit roles in Television to be accepted by the Hollywood Film Industry has not been an easy pathway. Today he is on a high having won accolades and awards for his role in Pan Singh Tomar. The film has made it to the Oscars list. He is back once again with his confidante and trusted director Tigmanshu Dhulia's Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns. He is constantly in search of a footing for doing or creating something new in his roles or his films. The actor speaks about his long journey in films today:
You have had a long television career, do you plan to go back to television. How do you look back on your journey now?
Yes it indeed has been a very long journey if I get an interesting role why not. I don't go looking for work, if something interesting comes my way I will certainly do it. I never dream of being a hero when I became an actor.
You have a different look in the film how was it working in a sequel this time. Any pressures?
I have worked on my looks because I play the member of the royal family, so I grew my hair and changed my look for the film. There are no pressures because the film already has a branding and has become popular. Interestingly I never asked Tigmanshu about my role when he came to me. I just said yes. We have worked for so many years and I was sure that he wouldn't give me a frivolous role.
You have had a long association with director Tigmanshu Dhulia does it become easy when you work with him. Do you feel safe?
Yes it does become easy as you know his style of working. He knows how I work. As for safety no, there is no safety. In fact there is pressure as you want to do your best for a friend. Fortunately our work has never come in our way of friendship. We have been friends even when we were not working together and we have spent quality time. He evolved as a filmmaker and I as an actor.
People relate to you with sensible cinema, intellectual women woo you?
Why only intellectual women. I want to be in every woman's heart. For me the role has to have meat. I will not do frivolous roles. Yes there are times when I take up films which are frivolous but that's for money as I have to run my house. I want the audience to remember me when they have left the theatres and take my role home with them.
You had said that you will be in a 1000 crore cinema some day. Do you want your films to reach the 100 crore tag?
I said it cynically. I find tags ridiculous. The 100 crore club is going to ruin the industry. We are not stock brokers nor is the industry a stock market. We have to make good entertaining cinema it cannot be valued with money. If the tag evolves with good cinema it's something else. If my films go on making such crores at the box office I will start refusing them
Young directors are coming with a different kind of cinema which has created it's niche and have been successful?
The industry needs them. I feel more and more young people should come and change the thinking of the cinema. They should experiement only then they can create revolution as well as evolution. We need more and more creative people here.
Do you plan to direct?
I don't know how to write a script but I want to something with music and action. I want to do action films and roles now. These are the areas I want explore now.
Manoj Bajpayee said you are a star. He said actors like them don't get dues?
As I said I don't believe in tags. If I am a star I will turn an actor. Call me names like entertainer, performer anything but don't give tags.
What kind of roles do you look forward to?
I am a hungry actor I look for roles that will give me the chance to perform and experiment. I am always under pressure as an actor because I wonder if I will be able to enjoy my work or not. I am not worried about working with different directors but I want to have fun with my roles. For me it is important to keep changing the definition of my roles as well as acting. Entertainment for me is not time pass. I am constantly trying to change the definition of acting.
Do you feel Hollywood movies give you that?
They see my product and give me something new. You never allow yourself to fit into that kind of cinema. It gives me a different exposure, challenge and feeling and that is very important for a person who enjoys doing it.
How was it working with Mahie and Soha?
Mahie is a great actress, her background is earthy. She is a director's actor and she has a different role.Soha is a beautiful. She has not been explored well.
Your forthcoming films?
D'Day, Gunday I cant talk about it they have put a clause it has shades of James Bond but is not a Bond character. . Lunch Box. The Ghost Lonely Traveller.