Even as I watched the Slumdog Millionaire team celebrating their Best Picture win on stage, I messaged my congratulations to the cop on Jamal’s trail. He responded: “Yes, Rahman saab cha gaye.. was a very proud moment.”
Four hours later, he was calling from LA to talk about the Oscar night before he called it a day. Irrfan Khan on the hotline with Roshmila Bhattacharya.
So how many parties did you attend after the Oscars?
There were several going on but I returned to my hotel room to sleep. I didn’t want to party.. I wanted to be back home.. to hug my kids. I missed my family.. missed showing them what showbiz is all about. When you see the Oscars on TV, you have no idea how huge it is.. how well designed and immaculately planned.
What was the highpoint?
For me the night will be special for two moments. Resul Pookutty saying that he hadn’t been handed just a sound award, he had been handed history. And Danny jumping on the stage before his acceptance speech.
What about that moment when you were all on stage?
I’m a trained stage actor but I’ve always felt out of place on stage. This time though, I didn’t, may be because of all those children. They were clambering up on people’s laps, tripping over feet and hopping around excitedly.. some of them were crying too. They changed the decorum of the awards forever.I hope this experience.. the exposure.. will make a difference to their lives.
Did you expect to win eight awards?
I was expecting six and praying that (AR) Rahman would win at least one for the country. He won two.. Resul won one. Like a democracy, here too numbers count.
There are almost 1000 members in the Academy who have voting power. Though DVDs go out to all of them, the biggest struggle is getting them to see your film.
Last year, there were several who believed I should have been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for Mira Nair’s The Namesake. I wasn’t and it’s okay with me.
I guess the studio wasn’t able to get all the members to see the film. But Slumdog.. was such a phenomenon that there was no need to lobby to get people to see it. We won without any networking.. any resources.
Did people remember you from The Namesake?
Yeah, to my surprise, there were many who did remember Ashoke. They said they were happy I was part of that story.. and now this.
A chunk were talking about Billu too and what I was doing next. I told them I was still with Billu that has just been two weeks in the theatres. If it is a hit, it will add to Shah Rukh Khan’s credentials, if it’s a flop it will be to my credentials.
Did you speak to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie?
I did, but that’s personal. It would be too embarrassing to reveal the details of our conversation.
Have you spoken to Danny Boyle about his next project?
I never ask any of my directors what they are making unless they tell me. I respect them and don’t want to manipulate them. If I did, my journey would be very different and I wouldn’t know where to go from there.
What have the words Jai Ho come to mean to you today?
What can I say, the words say it all. Jai Ho!