“Working with Mira is quite laborious — she continues to work and work. It’s no picnic. You only get to enjoy when the film is set to release,” says Irrfan about his experience on the sets of Mira Nair’s The Namesake-based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s award-winning novel.
The film releases this week and the actor has already been praised for his performance.
Excerpts from a chat:
Elated at the response:
I have been flooded with congratulatory calls from people. One of them told me, “Please go and hug your mother. You don’t know what you are.”
The unanimous view is that playing Ashoke Ganguli is one of my best performances. Vishal (Bhardwaj) told me, it’s Mira’s best film ever.
Not an easy job:
The most challenging part was the accent. I had to make it true and not put on. In fact, I was a bit sceptical about acquiring it. I just met people, heard them and then practised it. It is very boring and tedious to play a person who is older than you. Playing a character who is so silent and calm was a little difficult for me. It was a mental strain.
Irrfan vs Ashoke:
Yes, you do put your own experiences into the character you are portraying. There needs to be a role model or an impression particularly to play such characters.
I met Jhumpa’s father and that gave me an insight into this character. Sometimes it becomes important to draw inspiration and then you put your own experiences to understand the role.
There needs to be a soul in the script and that helps an actor raise his performance bar. Otherwise you tend to repeat yourself. You have to come out with performances that would surprise. The urge to explore new grounds should be there.
(Irrfan is doing A Mighty Heart with Angelina Jolie and then there’s The Darjeeling Limited)
For me it is challenging to keep myself alive as an actor. It would be a nightmare if I was detached from my work. I would like to do things that are watched and appreciated by my own people.
The Warrior won critical acclaim but hardly anybody in India saw the film. It is painful when you don’t win appreciation from audiences in your own country.
There’s Anurag Basu’s Metro and a thriller, which has me doing songs for the first time, but the USP of the film is its unusual storyline.