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    Irfan Khan: “Actors have always survived”

    [Interview by Faridoon Shahryar]
    Tuesday, July 11, 2006
    “Mani Ratnam doesn’t need me, I don’t need Mani Ratnam either,” says paragon of intensity Irfan Khan. The common-man-looking hero is turning away from ‘Chocolate’ to becoming a ‘Killer’. Yes, that’s the name of his next film releasing shortly where he plays the title role. The director duo of the film Raksha Mistry and Hasnain S Hyderabadwala claim that Irfan has shared a “fab chemistry” with co-star Emran Hashmi in this Indianised adaptatation of Tom Cruise’ ‘Collateral’. IndiaGlitz caught up with him on a pleasant evening in filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s buzzing-with-excitement office in Mumbai:

    What is Killer all about?

    I am not an authority to tell much about the film. It’s an interesting film. By telling something about the film, it ends up diluting the effect of the film. Telling a story is something else, while watching it is a totally different experience. That’s why I am generally wary of talking about my films. I fail to understand people who explain a film in two three four lines. A film is not meant to be understood. A film is meant to be experienced. ‘Killer’ is a rollercoaster ride. It’s an intense film

    The two directors Raksha Mistry and Hasnain S. Hyderabad told me that ‘Killer’ is a Tom and Jerry kind of film.

    You can say that. ‘Killer’ hits the same notes as Tom and Jerry do in their cartoon.

    Did you prepare yourself for playing a professional killer?

    No. It’s not based on real life. It’s more of an adrenaline rush. And I don’t prepare for all my roles. One needs to prepare for a role which has typicality in its physicality or a profession that one is not familiar with. But my character is not such a person.

    In Maqbool you played an underworld character as well.

    I am not an underworld guy in ‘Killer’. I am a freelancer. I do freelance for anybody. I do my job and I take my job seriously and honestly.

    What about Mira Nair’s Namesake?

    It is releasing on November 3 worldwide. Fox Searchlight is releasing it.

    How was the experience of working with Mr Naseeruddin Shah in ‘Yun Hota To Kya Hota’?

    It is releasing soon as well. I am here in this industry because of Naseer Sahab. He has inspired a generation of actors. He is a very innovative actor and has given a huge contribution in popularizing Realism. Nobody did it before the way he has done. No one presented realism in such an interesting manner before. There have been actors like Balraj Sahani, Moti Lal and Sanjeev Kumar, but Naseer Sahab has taken to realism like a method. I am not saying that he has done method acting. All his characters have a meaning to it. There is sense in most of his characters. Earlier people did it instinctively, but he knows the craft of acting. And it shows.

    Your performance in Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘Maqbool’ was widely appreciated, don’t you feel let down that he didn’t repeat you in the multiple cast of ‘Omkaara’?

    It is a priority of the director. And I wouldn't do any and every role offered to me. If I would have liked it then I would have done it. And I think Vishal needed a bigger budget and there are a few actors that fascinate more.

    What are your forthcoming films?

    ‘Killer’, ‘Yun Hota To Kya Hota’, ‘Namesake’, then there’s a film with Shobhana about parenting which hasn’t been titled yet. We have already shot it. It’s about a challenged kid and how people expect their kids to become something outstanding. Then there’s ‘Tulsi’ with Manisha Koirala. And I am also doing a film for Tigmanshu with Sunny.

    There were reports in certain sections of the media that you had developed a relationship with Manisha Koirala during ‘Tulsi’.

    I have a relationship with everybody in the sense that you have a relationship with your director, producer, co actors….

    But there was a report in a tabloid that there was more to this bonding that you had with Manisha

    See these newspapers have to fill their spaces. They are suggesting something and it doesn’t become clear as to what is more important for them, whether to sell the newspaper, or spread gossip. I leave it to their integrity.

    Who are the directors you’d like to work with?

    There are directors like Shriram Raghavan, I would want to work with Naseer again, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vishal, Anurag Basu, and I like Milan Luthria very much.

    And Mani Ratnam maybe

    There was a time when he was making the kind of films I would have loved to act. But today I don’t know. I don’t think if he needs me. Similarly I don’t need him either. He is a very fine director.

    In this Multiplex era do you think you could be commercially viable considering people are accepting serious cinema?

    Actors have always survived. It’s up to the audiences. It may be a single screen or a multiplex, if it is a good film, people will watch it.

    Any plans of getting back to television again?


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