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Being Boman— been there, done that

Actor Boman Irani feels that his life story is like any common man’s— starting as a waiter, then worked as a wafer seller, international photographer before becoming a well established actor.

lucknow Updated: Feb 22, 2019 18:18 IST
S Farah Rizvi
S Farah Rizvi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Boman Irani,Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh
Boman Irani in Lucknow.(Dheeraj Dhawan/HT Photo)

Actor Boman Irani feels that his life story is like any common man’s— starting as a waiter, then worked as a wafer seller, international photographer before becoming a well established actor.

The talented artist was in Lucknow recently for a live interaction at CII-Yi event where he spoke at length about his ups and downs and his facing it all with wit and humour.

Talking about the city and the event, he says, “This is my last and seventh session with CII and this makes it all the more important. Also, I love the place and its beautiful people. For me people matter as they are the ones who make an actor a star. Unless people appreciate your work and believe in your capabilities, no performer can be successful in life.”

LIGHT THINGS MATTER

Talking about how little things in life bring big changes and urging parents to let their children just be the way they are without putting them under stress and pressure to perform beyond their capacity, he says, “I was born December 1959 and the same year my father passed away, so I never knew what a man in a family was like as I lived with my mother, sisters and grannies. I was the most pampered boy on earth. I was dyslexic with speech defect but for my mother I was the best child. She took me to St Mary’s School and despite having so many issues, the principal there enrolled me that made me what I am today. The transformation from being Bechara Boman that my neighbours called me to Virus of 3 Idiots was huge, all thanks to my family.”

Irani says he was encouraged by his mother to go to the movies to learn about society, culture and traditions. “Not just that, she wanted me to learn about the world around. Also she had seen a performer in me when even I was unaware about it. I went to Alexandra Cinema hall almost every day and watched the movie Funny Lady numerous times.”

LIFE CHANGING TIP

The movie buff one day decided to become a waiter and went to his grandmother to tell her about his choice, who in return encouraged him to become one but be the best one. “I took up the job at The Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba and started as a room service helper. There I worked for one and half years. I remember when I got a five-rupee tip and showed it to my mom with such pride, she was super happy. But then she fell sick and I had to run a farsan shop called Golden Wafers for 14 years that gave me the a name Boman Sethji. This was the place where I met my wife who was my regular customer.”

THE BREAKTHROUGH

Irani dabbled in sports photography, selling his pictures for ₹25 each. “The real turnaround was when I had an opportunity to capture boxer Ole Klemetsen for a Norwegian publication during a match in Mumbai. I started getting noticed after that. Then I got into glamour photography, which made me meet choreographer Shiamak Davar who then introduced me to my mentor and guide ad filmmaker late Alyque Padamsee who took me to the world of theatre. My debut in cinema was with Ram Madhvani’s English film Let’s Talk when I was in my forties as all know. Raju’s (Raj Kumar Hirani) Munnabhai M.B.B.S. in 2003 gave me my real recognition and I won an award too. Rest is history.”

On a parting note, the grandfather of two said, “I want to say, there is no dearth of work at the moment but nothing can make me complacent. I insist on staying grounded as I remember my days of struggle.”

First Published: Feb 22, 2019 18:17 IST