I'm choosy because my work, not my face, sells: Irrfan Khan

By Dibyojyoti Baksi

Mumbai, Jan 21 (IANS) From Doordarshan serials to Hollywood films, Irrfan Khan has traversed a long path. The 48-year-old actor says he is very conscious about which project he chooses as it's his work that sells, not his looks.

"I am choosy because it's not my face that sells. My work is what people like and want to see again and again; so I can't repeat myself," Irrfan told IANS in an interview.

"I have to look at the stories, which are exciting, which give me scope to do what I haven't done earlier, which have entertainment, which can engage me for a long period of shooting. So it also becomes important to see with whom you are going to work," he said.

Irrfan also maintains that co-actors matter a lot while signing a film.

"The co-star matters a lot while doing a film. It depends on the film as well. Some films require a certain kind of chemistry, some films don't require the chemistry. But there are some dramas where the co-actor becomes very, very important. There it is not how you are performing your character or reacting to the other but how you are interacting with your co-star becomes very important. It's definitely a concern when it comes to a film where the co-star matters. Especially when you have a very sensitive chemistry," said Irrfan.

The actor can't be more right - if his performances in movies like "Maqbool", "The Namesake" and "Life...In A Metro" were anything to go by. He was applauded and his crackling chemistry with co-stars Tabu and Konkona Sen Sharma respectively were seen as the high points of the narratives.

Now the actor is excited about sharing an unusual chemistry with Chitrangada Singh in director Sudhir Mishra's forthcoming film "Yeh Saali Zindagi" that also stars Arunoday Singh and Aditi Rao Hydari.

"The chemistry I have with Chitrangada...after so many years...you know...after 'Maqbool', I got a chance to play that kind of equation, where this guy loves a girl, which is so unusual," said Irrfan.

"Yeh Saali Zindagi" is a quirky love story in the guise of a thriller.

"The name of the film gives an impression of complaint towards life, but it's rather an amusing, mesmerising way of looking at life. It's not a dark film but an engaging and entertaining thriller. What you take back with you is the chemistry of the characters in the film," said Irrfan.

In his young age, he played a character older to his age in the tele-soap "Banegi Apni Baat" but now he sticks to characters his age. Irrfan says there is a rat race to look younger these days, but the audience would surely mature to accept actors playing their age in movies.

"The audience here is youth audience. It's not Hollywood where a 50-year-old is playing the lead character. So the effort is to look younger, which sometimes is not at all enjoyable. I hope it changes. I hope people can play their own age," said Irrfan.

"In 'Banegi Apni Baat', even now in 'In Treatment', they had to age me. One of my friends met me in the Cairo film festival - she is a Turkish actor - and said 'why you keep on doing this role, which is older than your age?' Like in 'Paan Singh Tomar', I start being a 20-year-old and get older through the film. So I think how would I look as a 20-year-old guy?" he added.

"For me, there is more effort to make things effective. And things are effective when they are done and not pretended. There is a very thin line between when you are pretending and when you are doing it from within. To blur that thin line, one needs practice and working on yourself...," said Irrfan.

The actor says the fate of a film is always unpredictable.

"A film is such a mysterious thing that no one can say whether it's going to work or not. You can say everything is working on paper, it cannot go wrong, but after editing the whole thing might suddenly change and the audience reacts to it in a completely different manner. So, it's a very strange chemistry between the film and the audience," said Irrfan.

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