Actor Irrfan Khan is playing a philandering husband in the soon-to-release Thank You and he hopes his female fans won’t be upset because his character in the film is far from lovable. "He’s Mr Know-it-all who takes his wife for granted. But he doesn’t reflect my attitude towards women in any way," the actor hastens to add.
Prod him on whether he’s worried about his writer-wife Sutapa Sikdar’s reactions to the role and he laughs, "No, she knows I’m worse." However, despite the bad-boy proclamation, Irrfan admits that the raunchy poolside party thrown to promote the film gave him a few blushes: "It’s embarrassing to see women strip in public. Besides, I’m too old to want to ogle at women’s bodies."
Hasn’t he ever been tempted to stray, you wonder, and he admits he’s been lured at times. "If the desire comes from deep within, you shouldn’t curb it. Explore it because then you either get over it or get into it," he reasons. However, he doesn’t adhere to the notion of breaking a marriage in the quest for a more perfect partner. "To look for perfection, is in itself an imperfection," he says. "Marriage is not just about romance, but about accepting others to make the most of your life together."
There was talk of all the lead actors — Suneil Shetty, Bobby Deol and Akshay Kumar — re-registering their marriage as part of the publicity. Would Irrfan remarry Sutapa? "Why not?" he retorts. "But why would I want to do that when we haven’t divorced. In fact, given a choice, I’d run away from marriage. Marriage for me is just a certificate. I’d never have gone through with it, had it not been a legal formality; even though mine was a quiet, informal affair."
He, however, admits that it’s great to be back home with his wife and kids after a long shooting stint in Los Angeles for The Amazing Spiderman. He used to hate living in his earlier apartment because it felt like an office and the windows looked out to more buildings than trees. But now he has a bungalow in Madh Island and though the traffic can be difficult in the evenings, Irrfan consoles himself with the thought that that has to be negotiated with, anywhere in Mumbai: “At least now I can sit in the open in the breeze, watch the sun coming down and the moon coming up. It’s a wonderful high!”
And how does it feel to be Padma Shri Irrfan Khan? “Nice,” he nods. “Even if you don’t do anything to get noticed, a national honour means that your work is reaching out to people.”