From Nolan to DiCaprio: 4 times Irrfan Khan turned down Hollywood

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 05, 2016 15:28 IST
India’s biggest movie export: Irrfan Khan.

Irrfan Khan’s stream of big Hollywood movies has made him India’s biggest acting export right now. With roles in both indies and blockbusters, he has turned into one of the most in-demand working actors. In fact, we are tempted to say that as far as Hollywood goes, to them there is only one Indian actor in existence: Irrfan Khan. But what’s scary is that it could have been even bigger because as unlikely as it seems, Irrfan Khan occasionally says no. We’ve found 4 major roles the star turned down.

Just last week, news arrived that Irrfan had turned down a role in a new Steven Spielberg movie starring Scarlett Johansson that may or may not be the sci-fi adventure Robopocalypse. “I didn’t feel the character offered to me gave me much scope. So I said ‘No’; though Scarlett Johansson is an actor I would have loved to share screen space with,” he said in an interview to NDTV.

Read: Why Irrfan Khan rejected Steven Spielberg film with Scarlett Johansson

But something is off. A few months ago, Khan admitted just as much. “I am also in talks for another project with Spielberg,” he told HT. That was in November. Now, a full 2 months later, he says the role wasn’t good enough, which frankly isn’t a decision that takes 2 months to make. We smell contractual disputes.

In any case, this is not the first time he has turned down big Hollywood directors. We aren’t just saying this because of some inferiority complex that dictates all foreign films are better than our Bollywood movies. No. One look at the names he has turned his back on is enough to cause outrage.

Body of Lies (2008)

Director Irrfan turned down: Ridley Scott

Actors Irrfan missed the chance to work with: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe

Replaced by: Mark Strong

Reason he gave: It just didn’t work out.

Still got to chillax with Golshifteh Farahani. *drops mic*

Interstellar (2014)

Director Irrfan turned down: Christopher Nolan

Actors Irrfan missed the chance to work with: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway

Replaced by: Either David Gyasi or Matt Damon (unclear).

Reason he gave: “They expected a huge commitment from my end. I had to stay in the US for four months at a stretch. I tried to work out my schedule and suggested if I could shuttle between India and the US as it wouldn’t have been possible for me to be there for that long. I wanted to be here for The Lunchbox and D-Day. They couldn’t allow that. I don’t have a tendency to regret what I do, but knowing it’s a Christopher Nolan film, I can say that this has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made,” he told TOI.

He directed Batman you say? *scoffs* My movie did Rs 10000 crore. Beat that Christopher Nolan.

The Martian (2015)

Director he turned down: Ridley Scott (he needs to take a hint)

Actors Irrfan missed the chance to work with: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels

Replaced by: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Reason he gave: “I had committed my dates to Shoojit Sircar’s film, and no regrets about that. Piku is an important film in my career,” he said to Bollywood Hungama.

Boom! Take that Sir Ridley Scott.

Irrfan Khan’s international adventure began with a leading role in Asif Kapadia’s The Warrior. He quickly followed that up with acclaimed performances in small films like The Namesake, A Mighty Heart and The Darjeeling Limited. Sensing he was on to something, Khan began taking smaller roles in bigger films like Life of Pi, The Amazing Spider-Man and Slumdog Millionaire. The icing on the cake came in the form of a pretty substantial role in one of the biggest movies in history: Jurassic World. With that, Irrfan Khan became an international star and dropped his surname to prove his showbiz cred. Now, he says Hollywood offers are ‘exploding.’

Read: Tom Hanks is a bigger man than he is an actor: Irrfan Khan

He will now appear in the third Robert Langdon movie with Tom Hanks, who, as it turns out, was spared. Inferno is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. It is directed by Ron Howard (lucky man) and is expected to arrive in theatres in October.

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