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Irrfan Khan's going for the kill

He's been out of sight but not out of action. Irrfan Khan talks to Hiren Kotwani.

india Updated: Jul 12, 2006 18:06 IST

He's drinking copious amounts of water after speaking incessantly on his latest film.

But even after repeating the same answers for several television channels, the trained actor, who straddles television and film, maintains his enthusiasm when he settles down to talk to me.

Clad in off-white pants and a pale pink shirt over a T-shirt, Irrfan Khan looks anything but the serial killer he plays in Vishesh Films' The Killer.

It's been a while since Khan interacted with the media, and he attributes his absence to "shooting for films like Mira Nair's The Namesake, The Killer, Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota?, Deadline and Tumse. As you know, shooting these films took time. Otherwise, I've been around."


 Irrfan Khan is playing an assassin in The Killer

Given that

The Killer

, co-starring Emraan Hashmi is clearly a copy of


, starring Tom Cruise as the killer and Jamie Foxx as the taxi driver, did Khan watch the Hollywood film before shooting this film directed by Raksha Mistry and Hasnain Hyderabadwala?

"I have not seen the film hence I am not concerned about comparisons. For me the script of The Killer is the source," he says.

Does he feel he's getting stereotyped into negative characters?

"It usually happens that when an actor is appreciated for a certain role, he is flooded with many similar characters. At the same time, he also gets a few different characters among them. Likewise, I've been cautious to take on only those roles where I can both explore different characters, but also be myself as an actor."

So while Khan is an assassin in The Killer, he's playing a stockbroker in Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota? and a Bengali immigrant to the US in The Namesake.

"An actor makes his choice depending on what and how much he needs and whether it's roles or money or another factor that's important," he adds.

Khan says that co-star Emraan Hashmi did not show any attitude even though he is an inhouse actor with Vishesh Films.

"Working with Emraan has been wonderful. He's so focussed and committed that you enjoy your work even more. He doesn't have any attitude that he's the producers' relative, but he's very grounded and curious to learn and improve his performance," he says.

Long after Salaam Bombay, Khan is once again working with Mira Nair. Says he, "It was wonderful working with Mira again, especially after so long."

While others talk of crossover cinema, Khan has actually crossed over, balancing The Namesake with commercial films here, that too without making a conscious effort.

On being asked about the discrepancy, he says, "Well, I didn't really think of it that way when I signed those films. The working style here is very cordial, bordering on casual at times. The director is the captain of the ship and his decision is final. Whereas over there (the US) it's more organised and compartmentalised. Each department is under a different person and the director doesn't interfere in others' jobs. Their level of professionalism is high, which is reflected in their working style."

Khan is also excited about Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota?. "Since it's Naseeruddin Shah's directorial debut, I feel honoured that he wanted me to act in it. It's been a very pleasurable experience working with him. There's so much one can learn from him."

Another addition to his kitty is Bollywood Cop, his second film with Aditya Bhattacharya after Dubai Return. "It's about what happens when a man and a woman with different lifestyles meet. I'm playing a cop while the woman's character is a rich celebrity," he says, for now.

Khan also continues to be seen on television. "I'm not doing any serials, but just anchoring two shows. I just give one day a month to each show which isn't much."

Our time is up, and Khan has moved onto the next channel waiting for their killer quotes.