Director Mira Nair is going to cast the intense Irrfan Khan and Hollywood stunner Natalie Portman in her next directorial venture Kosher Vegetarian, a love story between a Gujarati man and a Jewish girl.
This is Irrfan's second movie with Nair. The earlier one was The Namesake, based on an eponymous novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, where he played a non-resident Bengali in US.
Irrfan is ready to morph into a "Gujarati" Romeo. "But no accent this time. I'm very clear about that," laughed the actor, who has just returned from Santa Monica in California after attending the Spirit Awards.
"I'll be playing this strictly vegetarian Gujarati man. Unlike The Namesake, which was a family story, Kosher Vegetarian is the story of a man and a woman. Needless to say, I play the man," Irrfan said.
Actress Natalie Portman of Closer fame will play the Jewish girl.
Says Irrfan: "I've heard Natalie is my co-star in the film. I find the project immensely exciting because it is Mira's film. Mira is a majestic multi-tasker. I love her spirit. It's contagious. After The Namesake, I was sure we would do something special again."
The spirit of The Namesake remained alive at the Spirit Awards. Though Irrfan lost the best supporting actor award to Chiwetel Ejiofor in Talk To Me, Irrfan returned feeling triumphant.
"The event took place on a beach. It was amazing. There was no regret about not winning the trophy. Our film is a winner. Even when the clip announcing my name was shown at the ceremony, there were moist eyes in the audience. That to me is my greatest triumph."
Irrfan got to rub shoulders with Dustin Hoffman, Forest Whitaker, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
"Angelina and Brad, of course, I know after working with them in The Mighty Heart. Dustin Hoffman sat in the row right in front of me. But I couldn't bring myself to tap him on the shoulder and introduce myself. How do you approach actors whom you've admired half your life? Maybe I need to learn that now," he said.
Irrfan spent a lot of time with Tamara Jenkins, director of the much-applauded The Savages. "She seems to admire my work a great deal," says Irrfan.
Don't be surprised to see Irrfan in a Tamara Jenkins production.