He is one of the most versatile actors in Bollywood, but for now Irrfan Khan has stopped signing on new assignments because he wants to focus on the role of a steeplechase runner in Tigmanshu Dhulia's Paan Singh Tomar.
"This is the most physically and mentally demanding film of my career. If I give attention to anything else, I won't be able to do justice to this role," Irrfan, who has proved his mettle in films like Maqbool, The Namesake and Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire, told IANS.
"You see, steeplechase is a far more complicated form of marathon. It demands a continuous rhythm as one runs and jumps. It's the most difficult task I've ever undertaken as an actor," he added.
Unable to cope with the heavy demands on his body and mind, the 46-year-old Irrfan has stopped work on all other projects.
"I've steeplechase experts constantly working on me. I'm trying to stretch my body to its limit. I have to look convincing as this long-distance steeplechase runner. Otherwise, the film falls flat. I can't afford that risk at this stage of my career.
"There're lots of talks for new projects, both national and international. But I'm not signing anything. I have to devote all my time to getting the steeplechase right."