He believes his unique choice of work made it tough for filmmakers to fit him in a box. But acclaimed actor Irrfan genuinely feels Hindi cinema needs to pay attention and importance to character artists just as in Hollywood, where, he says, India is currently in fashion.
"When you're doing a Hollywood film, you are treated like a character actor. You are an intrinsic part of the story and your role is defined. When you are doing one such role here, you are just a character. You are there to support the protagonists crisis or dilemma.
"We misuse character actors here for the main lead. That is why being a character actor here is no fun," Irrfan said Friday at the India Today Conclave 2013 on the topic - India ignores till the world applauds?
Having starred in over 100 TV and film assignments, Irrfan is currently riding high on the success of his films - Bollywood projects like Paan Singh Tomar and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, as well as Hollywood project Life Of Pi, which won four Oscar awards recently.
The movie was widely shot in India with Indian actor Suraj Sharma in the lead, and Tabu in a key part.
India, as a whole, is in currently in fashion in Hollywood, said Irrfan, who has also worked in international projects like Warrior, A Mighty Heart, New York, I Love You, Slumdog Millionaire and The Amazing Spider-Man.
"Hollywood is the biggest market. They know how to expand it and they have been doing for years... now Spain was in fashion, so they got actors from there, then China came into the picture, they are trying to see different possibilities and give variety to the audience.
"India is in fashion there right now and there are going to be a lot many films which will be made in India, story will be based in India and actors will be from India," he said.