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Irrfan Khan's interview

Inferno starring Tom Hanks and Irrfan Khan is releasing in India today, the 14th of October two weeks ahead of its release in US. Irrfan Khan talks about the film, Hollywood, Bollywood, Deepika Padukone and much more.


How and why did you agree to be a part of ‘Inferno’?
There are several reasons. Firstly, working with Ron was something I was keen on. Tom Hanks and the entire cast of ‘Inferno’ seemed interesting to work with. And this is the third part of the series by Dan Brown. I am a huge fan of Dan’s writing and I have read all the three parts. So you can say, there was no reason for me to not do this film.

We believe that you chose the role of The Provost in ‘Inferno’. What was it about the role that got you interested?
I was offered some other character but I asked Ron whether I could play The Provost instead. He was curious to know why I wanted to enact that particular character. When I told him how I conceptualized the role, he liked it and agreed.

Would you want to tell us which role was actually offered to you?
When I read the script, Ron wanted to know my perspective on the film. First, I was offered the role Christoph Bruder, head of the SRS team. Personally, I was keen on the role of The Provost.  When Ron and I discussed this, he liked my insight on the character and what I would add as an actor to it. And here I am, playing The Provost! 

We have the film release in India two weeks before US release. That’s never happened. What do you think is the reason behind it? And does it add more pressure to have a great opening in India?
I think it’s wonderful that India as a market is opening to different kinds of cinema, including Hollywood. It’s great to know that international counterparts see India as a booming market and are giving the movie a priority release.

Tom Hanks and Ron Howard have repeatedly lavished praise on you. Could you tell us about your experience of shooting with Tom and being directed by Ron?
Tom is a very warm person and an outstanding human being. I enjoyed every moment of working with him. Whenever two actors are familiar with each other's work and you admire the actor, the shoot becomes an engaging affair. I have always been a fan of Ron Howard’s work. It was definitely an enriching experience to have worked with both of them in ‘Inferno’.

What did you really like about Tom's approach to acting and making a film?
He is very professional and he takes his job seriously. However, he is such a warm person that he keeps the energy on the sets to the highest. His energy is so infectious that you have a good time on the sets.

What do you think your fans in India can expect from the film? We believe that in the end, it is a story of good vs. evil?
As a film, yes, it deals with good vs. evil. However, the evil is none other than man-made issues which make the film relatable and contemporary.  They can expect a crisp, taut thriller.

There are so many Indian stars that are now making waves abroad but you are considered a trailblazer who contributed substantially in bringing spotlight on Indian cinema. When you look back at your very first Hollywood film, did you imagine the journey would shape up the way it has?
Honestly, when I acted in ‘Warrior’,  I wasn’t even sure what would it bring with it. That was my first breakthrough and since then it’s been a rewarding way so far. I never plan things, not even a career in international films. Till date, I view any film as a film and not look what global recognition it will get me.

As an actor who straddles both the worlds very comfortably- where do you think your heart really lies?
My people are here (India) and so are my stories. Today, small and unconventional films are redefining cinema in India and I am happy to be a part of this brave and new world. Hollywood is just a bonus! I keep getting interesting offers but I never really feel like leaving India.

What is the biggest difference that you think exists between Bollywood and Hollywood?
Hollywood is competitive and tough, just like Bollywood.The biggest difference is that Hollywood is very complicated. Good actors, who are doing great in theatre, count themselves lucky if they get two auditions a month in Hollywood. Being there is not a matter of joke.  

If you could spot one difference between Indian filmmaking and international filmmaking –what would that be?
Basically, international filmmaking is all about the story and the script. Everyone works in tandem to make the film a wholesome experience. Things in the Indian film industry are changing rapidly; it is moving from formula and star-driven films to more content based stories.

Would you ever be up for doing a full fledged negative/dark role and a full blown comedy role in Bollywood?
As an actor, I am open for any character which is challenging enough and pushes the envelope for me. Comedy is something I always wish to do. Piku had its own comedic subtle moments which I thoroughly enjoyed. As for negative character, I am always up for anything that gets the ‘actor’ in me excited.

What concerns you about Indian cinema right now?
Indian audiences have come to a point where they are hungry for newer storytelling ideas and content. The way films have fared in the last couple of years,especially this year, clearly shows that the older techniques and formula of filmmaking are not working for the audiences anymore. Some Hollywood films are also doing better than some Bollywood films. For me, personally, I see this as a great void for enterprising producers, directors and actors to break the mould and serve fresh content to the audiences. Also, the way Hollywood films are faring in India, it is a harsh wake-up call.

Deepika is also making her debut in Hollywood. What are your expectations from her?
Deepika is a talented girl and is very clear about her choices, so I am sure she will do great for herself at her Hollywood debut.

How has Irrfan Khan, the actor changed over the years?
You should tell me that! (laughs) Personally, I feel I just become more experienced with every passing film.

Finally, what next for Irrfan Khan?
I just recently wrapped shooting for a new film titled ‘Hindi Medium’ and will soon start shooting for a film based on an exciting road trip. This movie will be directed by Tanuja Chandra. I am also excited about my guest appearance on ‘Takadum’ which Homi Adajania is directing. I am also waiting for the release of AnupSingh’s film, ‘Song of the Scorpion’ and ‘No Bed of Roses’, which is an international Bangladeshi production

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Irrfan Khan's interview

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