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Last Updated 17.11.2019 | 3:51 PM IST
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Is it Saif?

Irrfan Khan had big plans to attend the premiere of his film Kosher Vegetarian in New York on October 16. He even had his clothes ready. But then, the unexpected happened. The producers couldn’t afford to have the entire cast and crew over.

Irrfan tries to explain the situation gently, “You’ve to understand my film Kosher Vegetarian was just one short-film in the whole series being released as one feature film New York I Love You. There’re 11 short films and as many directors. And the cast includes 35-40 formidable star-actors. Getting them all to attend the premiere in New York was a costly affair. It also required huge amounts of planning and co-ordination. The producers were indecisive. I called it off.”

What Irrfan is now looking forward to is the role of Jawaharlal Nehru in Joe Wright’s Indian Summer. “It was Danny Boyle who after Slumdog Millionaire told me about the part. The British film industry is very small. Everyone knows about the films being made. Danny told me about Indian Summer. It came to me. Then nothing more was heard of it. I forgot all about it. Now I hear it’s on again. I’m very excited. I’m a huge fan of director Joe Wright’s work. But the offer hasn’t come formally to me yet.”

Irrfan is undeterred by the fact that he looks nothing like Jawaharlal Nehru. “I’ll turn myself into the character through my attitude. When I was just out of the NSD, I had played Lenin at the age of 21. It made me realize my potential and direction as an actor. Since Lenin, I’ve played other biographical characters. I’m playing another real-life character Pan Singh Tomar. I’ll be playing the Punjabi poet Pash in Anurag Kashyap’s film. I can pull of Nehruji for sure.”

Irrfan loved the way Roshan Seth played Nehru in Ben Kingsley’s Gandhi, but has no intentions of using Seth’s performance as a reference point. “There are many fine actors playing Gandhi. Whom would you call the finest? Roshan Seth is an actor I just love. Our industry is not equipped to handle his talent. But I’d never copy him. My reference point would be the script and the way I interpret the character. When I had just started acting, I used to draw a map for my character. I didn’t have the skill to surpass that map. Today, I can afford to be unpredictable.”

Today Irrfan is much in-demand for international projects. “All thanks to my film Warrior which Mira saw and decided to cast me in The Namesake. Not too many people have seen me in Warrior. One of my proudest moments recently was when Mr Bachchan praised me on his blog. I’ve repeated his dialogues in front of the mirror in my growing up years. It requires a large heart to acknowledge another actor. He’s a genuine and generous soul.”

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