Irrfan Khan, who has been juggling Bollywood and Hollywood projects successfully, doesn’t intend to alter his choices for higher box-office returns. He is confident of picking out films that offer an “emotional experience,” and says he will continue to rely on such choices.
You only have two Bollywood films in hand — Piku and Sanjay Gupta’s next. Are you deliberately taking up fewer offers?
I choose from whatever I get. I need to find the right films because the audience has certain expectation of me. Also, even though the industry is growing, 90 per cent of the films are the kind that I don’t want to be part of. I will not do them unless I am out of work, and I need to survive.
Trade experts say that the success of The Lunchbox (2013) brought you back into the limelight. Do you think you are finally getting your due?
Everything is falling into place, but I think it’s just the timing. I was putting in the same kind of effort earlier as well. Sometimes you get recognition, and sometimes you don’t. Destiny is behind the choices you make, and sometimes, these choices write the story of your life, and decide how it will move, and what you will get out of it.
But in Bollywood, the success of an actor is largely decided by his or her films’ box-office collections. Is that a cause for concern?
I am always concerned about the business my films do. But I don’t want to change my choice of films. I know that the movies I am doing have potential. I want to
enjoy my work, but I don’t market myself as that is not my strength. I know that films are a medium to tell a story; an emotional experience that the audience can carry home with them. I promise them that experience.
How was your experience of meeting Tom Hanks recently?
I haven’t met too many actors who are that warm. I think Dilip Kumar exudes the kind of warmth that touches your heart. Apart from being a great performer, Tom is also very entertaining. We rehearsed some scenes from our upcoming film when we met.
What made you sign Piku?
I’ve been wanting to work with Shoojit (Sircar; director) for a long time. I also like Juhi Trivedi’s (scriptwriter) writing. And then there was this amazing cast — Moushumiji (Chatterjee) and (Amitabh) Bachchan saab. I also have a pivotal role in the film.
Your on-screen chemistry with Deepika Padukone has been appreciated.
This is because people are looking for fresh elements in films. The audience wants to connect with the characters; they look for some resonance, and some undefined emotions in a movie. That’s what Piku is offering, and that, too, with a lot of simplicity.
Were you nervous about working with Amitabh Bachchan?
I wasn’t nervous as we knew each other from before. During the shoot, he was always very encouraging. Whenever we met, he praised me a lot for my acting. But the interesting thing is, when you are working with a great actor, your job becomes easier. Acting is not a solitary job; it needs collaboration. It’s like jugalbandi — you play something, and depending on what the other person’s response is, you play your next tune.
Read:My style is a lot like Piku, says Deepika