He starts off with a disclaimer: “You’re meeting a very dull Boman Irani today. It’s jet lag; a lot of it.” Giving us a glimpse of the true showman, he says, the show, however, must go on. “Shooting gives you an adrenaline rush of sorts. It brings out the best in you — what you’ve been working at for so long. In front of the camera, Boman is tired, the character is not.”
Admitting that he’s shy, and not particularly fond of giving interviews on sets, he says, “You’re as it is away from family. Might as well be with this family while you’re here!”
Seeing his dedication, you wonder how deeply the man goes into character. “There’s no meter to judge my loyalty to the character. I think about him, a lot, which is enough. I can relate to all of them, but can’t be all of them. I like to believe I’m not like any of them,” comes the answer.
So, how does he decide which one to pick? “I hear the story in one line. If it’s workable, I call for a short narration, where I ask them about the opening, interval and the end. And then comes the litmus test — I ask them to read their favourite scene. If his favourite scene is rubbish, you know you are in trouble. Phir, aadmi ka shakal bhi toh dekhna hota hai! I don’t let people feel that I’m giving them a hard time, but I take my time.”
The thorough process, however, does not mean he hasn’t made bad decisions, says he. “It’s unfair to name them. I might have found my performance bad; the filmmaker must have made a good movie according to him. There are times I have been nominated for a bad movie, but an award is not an assurance of your performance being good. Good movies, however, have their own space. They might not get their due immediately. A bad movie can get recognition at the box office, but will be forgotten.”
Does he believe it’s the right time for him to be in the industry? “A lot of people say I’ve entered late. I think I have entered at the right time — character actors are getting their due.”
You dare to ask if he’s satisfied. The question invites a raised eyebrow, as he says, “Nobody is ever going to be satisfied. You should never be very happy. I don’t think I will ever be satisfied. It’s difficult for me to please myself. I watch the film and criticise my role all the time. It takes a while to get used to the character I played. On a set, I’m a different person altogether, especially during the first few days. It’s only when I get into the character that I’m my noisy, witty self.”
As we apologise for catching him on the wrong day, he wins our heart by saying, “This too is a part of my journey.”