Chit Chat

I contemplated quitting films 12 years ago: Irrfan

In a chat with Irrfan on winning National Award and lots more:

You’ve just bagged the National Award for Best Actor ( Paan Singh Tomar). Was it long overdue?
I should have won for Haasil and few other films too, but I think the award has come at the right time. I knew this film will win. This is my beginning. This will encourage filmmakers and actors to make unconventional films. Commercial cinema doesn’t have to be ‘meaningless, frothy, timepass’. This award belongs to the audience who believed in me and my films. Most rewarding was the audience appreciation that I received.

Will this makeup for the Oscar snub?
When there is a flaw in the system you feel cheated. One cannot compare the two. They are extremely different. A nation needs to know how to utilise talent. I contemplated on quitting films 12 years ago as I was not happy with the roles that came my way. I was bored. Tigmanshu convinced me to wait for a few years. He told me, “Arre Ruk Ja, National Award Le Ke Jana’! He meant to say, our time will come and I am happy it has.

And Tigmanshu lived up to his promise.
He did! We know each other since college days. My journey as an actor wouldn’t be as exciting without him. We’ve learned so much from each other. At the same time, no relationship should become a burden on each other. You shouldn’t be helpless without each other. His time has come to explore.

You think the film should be re-released now?
It depends on the producers and distributors. They know best.

How are you going to celebrate the win?
My mother is very happy. She called from Jaipur saying, “Duniya Jeet Lena Hi Sab Kuch Nahi Hai, Kuch Chodh Jaana Bhi Chahiye’. There is a bash in Mumbai on 23rd, after which I will go see Tishu in Lucknow.”

A lot of people fear, we may lose you to Hollywood.
I cannot live anywhere else except India. I am not going anywhere, just expanding myself as an actor. Hollywood gives me that challenge and exposure. Hindi film industry has utilised me but the choices have been limited. I am not ready to fit into the mould of commercial cinema.

Are you going to be choosy post this?
Not at all. Nothing changes as far as my work style is concerned.


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