Ahead of the release of his next, The Lunchbox, Irrfan Khan found himself in the news for the wrong reasons.
Rumours of a cold war with his co-star Nawazuddin Siddiqui did the rounds. However, Irrfan rubbishes the conjectures here, talks about the Oscar-worthiness of his film, and regrets saying no to Hollywood giant, director Christopher Nolan.
Is there a problem between you and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, like reports suggest?
Please don’t ask me such things. You should question those people who have problems. I have nothing to do with that stuff.
How was it working with Nawazuddin again (they did a short film called Bypass in 2003)?
It’s the director’s call to choose actors. We only try and create chemistry between us depending on the script. But surely, if the casting is correct, it makes our work a little easier.
You’ve turned producer with this film. How has that been?
I’m not making a big contribution as a producer in this film; I’m just one of many. In the future, I will produce films that have the potential for international appeal. They should be able to provide something new and entertaining.
Do you think The Lunchbox deserves to go to the Oscars?
It depends on the federation (Film Federation of India). But the foreign media definitely feels that if it’s the official entry, it can go a long way.
After big-budget films like Life Of Pi (2012) and D-Day, why did you choose an indie film?
While choosing a film, the budget is the last thing on my mind. All that matters is the kind of impact the film and its storyline has on me as an actor. If a big-budget film like Life Of Pi hadn’t made an impact, no one would have watched it.
Do you regret turning down Christopher Nolan’s next (Interstellar)?
Definitely. It would’ve been a huge thing to work with him, but there are times when you feel helpless. I couldn’t avail of the opportunity. They wanted me to stay in the US for four months at a stretch. But since I had to be in India for films like D-Day and The Lunchbox, I couldn’t have stayed there for that long. Life is long; we will find something else.
All is well: Nawazuddin Siddiqui
We contacted Nawazuddin for a reaction to reports of the simmering tension with, rival, Irrfan Khan, which has apparently kept Nawaz away from the promotional activities for The Lunchbox.
Nawaz refutes it, and says, “It’s untrue. There’s nothing like that. I am busy with my other films, but I am giving it (promotions) as much time as possible. There’s no question of a rift. He is my senior by 10-12 years. How can I have problems with him then? All is well.”
The Lunchbox is an internationally critically acclaimed film starring Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.