Irrfan Khan / Irfan Khan – The Underrated Khan


Irrfan Khan / Irfan Khan

The Mumbai moviedom is brimming with Khans in all shapes and sizes but this one is a special one. Very special. This lean and tall (too tall when compared to all the other Khans, from Shahrukh and Salman to Fardeen and Saif), square-framed and fit, cool and laid-back middle-aged guy is the male Bipasha Basu. His probing eyes and un-rushed attitude can be quite seductive. Incidentally, the bags under his eyes that were so evident in teleserial ‘Banegi Apni Baat’ have disappeared. Thanks to some Ayurvedic application. Jai Ho! Baat Ban Gayee? “Oh! No! Baat aur aage badhegi. Albeit, I do accept that I was noticed in serials like ‘Banegi Apni Baat’ and ‘Chandrakanta’. I would say a much, much better phase has started, thanks to my luck and drive to excel, coupled with the teams that I got to work with in films like ‘Warrior’, ‘Maqbool’, ‘Haasil’ and ‘Charas’. Baat to tab banegi when people would invest money in me, my presence will make the film projects viable!”

He sounds logical. But, he is at an age and stage when he can be considered only for character roles, when you go by Mumbai moviedom norms. “Everybody comes with a set of rules. The rules change the scene and surroundings for him and he creates his own space. When Danny (Dengzoppa) came, he was so skeptical about getting acceptance, as he looked so different. Almost the same can be said about the way Rajesh Khanna (his Gurkha looks) or even Amitabh Bachchan (his lanky frame)! In ‘Bombay To Goa’, you can clearly see Amitabh imitating Navin Nischol who was a star then.”

While ‘Warrior’ brought him international awards and honour, ‘Haasil’ won him awards and recognition back home. His laudable performance in ‘Maqbool’ too is bound to repeat the fete once again. What’s ‘Charas’ all about? “I play Randhir Singh Rathod, a disillusioned person in Charas. He wants to create his own world, his policy being – be happy and make happy. He owns a vast agricultural land, has his own empire so to say. But he has a scar on his psyche which he tries to ignore, forget, get rid of…he has a nagging grudge which is not shown apparently though.”

Isn’t he a drug-don with contrasting name like Policeman in ‘Charas’? “My character has so many shades including the gray one. It’s a multi-layered complex character. There is a sense of mystery about it. In fact, every character has the potential to be developed into a plot for an individual film!”

Tigmanshu Dhulia’s début film ‘Haasil’ won critical acclaim but no audience. Where did it fail? “‘Haasil’ was a more of a personal film. Tigmanshu who was born and brought up in Allahabad was witness to this reality. That’s why it looked so realistic But the situations, especially related to my character (Ranvijay Singh) were quite amusing, even entertaining. It wasn’t a dark film. Personally, I feel, ‘Haasil’ lacked in marketing. On the other hand, ‘Charas’ is in the safe, expert hands of Yashraj Films. They know how to go about marketing.” They better know and do their best. After all Uday Chopra features in the film.

About ‘Dekhna Na Bhoolein’, in which he is paired with Juhi Chawla, Irfaan says, “This again is a light entertainer. I play a character- that of uncle of the bride- who is a nikamma but likes to believe that he is a very good, useful person. Juhi comes with her TV crew to film my niece’s marriage. It’s her very first independent assignment and is eager to prove herself. I get attracted towards her. I can’t reveal more than this.”

A serious, intense artiste like him in a light comedy? He dismisses it saying, “What one is doing is acting. If the script is good, your identification level rises. In a comedy, you have to go by the rhythm of the script. I am also doing Aditya Bhattacharya’s comedy ‘Dubai Returned’ in which every character is in a hurry to make big bucks by hook or crook. But I am a simpleton who is too principled to join in the gold rush!” Like in real life, Irfan?

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