An actor of substance

HE HAS been called a cerebral actor, an intense and serious actor and even a sex symbol by some, but what remains undisputed is his tremendous acting ability. A National School of Drama graduate, Irfan with his non-conventional ....

By Vijaya Sukumar (Contributor)

Published: Sat 12 May 2007, 10:37 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:31 AM

looks and brooding yet eloquent eyes has proved time and again that he is truly an actor of substance. His powerful roles in Haasil, Warrior, Maqbool and more recently Mira Nair's 'The Namesake' give a glimpse of the immense depth in him. Here in town for the premiere of Anurag Basu's 'Life in a Metro' Irfan shared his views with City Times.

How important is it to you to be commercially viable?

When you are commercially viable you have a choice, people write for you, you have the support of production otherwise your choice becomes limited. It is very important because ultimately it is all about money. Film making is not just about creativity its primarily about money making. Hollywood studios say they make films just to sell popcorn and coke so that's the reality of cinema. What matters to me is how I connect with my work. I should enjoy it and get good money for it and the most important thing to me is to entertain people.

What was your experience like of working with Mira Nair for The Namesake?

It was fantastic she is a special woman, very talented and a great leader. I would love to work with her again. She has been in Hollywood for a long time, and is making her kind of films. She is not making formula films. She is making films in which she believes and that is very important to an actor.

What was challenging in enacting Ashoke in 'The Namesake'?

For me the silences of the character were quite challenging. How to acquire that kind of silence in a personality was my challenge. Mira's approach, the strength of the story all helped me.

When you play a character do you carry it back home with you?

I do carry it back, if it is an intense role it does affect you. You think about it you explore those characteristics in you. Metro is completely different. I never ever related to the character Monty. I could never see anything of him in me except for being at times odd and blunt. He is completely different from me that's why I was amused by this guy. He fascinated me and Anurag gave me a fantastic ground to explore the character. For an actor a director's reaction to his/her work is very vital. If he is getting the nuances of what you are doing then you open up and explore further. Then you loose yourself in the character.

Tell us more about your character in 'Life in Metro'?

The character I play is around 35 in the film. He is a well settled, lighthearted person. He thinks its high time he got married and wants to touch a girl legally. He is obsessed with the thought of marriage. Whenever he meets a girl he becomes impatient and that makes the situation worse for him. If he likes a girl he just immediately says, "Shall we get married" thus stunning the girl! It was great fun to play this guy and all credit goes to Anurag and the writer.

Were you disappointed when Vishaal Bharadwaj did not approach you for Omkaara, especially after your powerful performance in Maqbool?

It's up to Vishal to cast. I have no further take on that.

Would you do a song and dance routine?

Routine song and dance doesn't suit me! I don't think that's my strength and I don't have any desire or wish to explore that area.

What is your criteria for selecting a role?

Firstly it should interest me. Secondly the director and the producer. I now realise that the producer is the one who positions your film, releases your film. Film making is one thing and how to put it in the market is a completely different ball game altogether. It's a time where everyone has to 'bajao their dhol' to get noticed. Even if your film is good if it doesn't have enough noise nobody will come to see it in the theatre. Tickets have become expensive, so people make sure the film is good and only then go to see it. Money is also important though sometimes you do sacrifice money if you feel that a film is going to add to your career

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