Mumbai, Irrfan Khan, who is hoping to play Jawaharlal Nehru in Joe Wright’s “Indian Summer”, is undeterred by the fact that he looks nothing like India’s first prime minister and says he can pull off the role convincingly.
“I’ll turn myself into the character through my attitude. When I was just out of the NSD (National School of Drama) I had played Lenin at the age of 21. It made me realise my potential and direction as an actor,” Irrfan told IANS.
“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,” he said confidently.
Irrfan thanks Danny Boyle for keeping him in the loop about “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, very excited. I’m a huge fan of the director Joe Wright’s work. But the offer hasn’t come formally to me yet,” he said.
Based on Alex von Tunzelmann’s book “Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire”, the film will follow the important events during India’s independence. To be shot in Delhi, Punjab and other parts of India, it will feature Cate Blanchett as Edwina and Hugh Grant as last British Viceroy in India Lord Mountbatten.
Earlier, another talented Indian actor Roshan Seth had played Nehru in Ben Kingsley’s Oscar winner “Gandhi”. Though Irrfan loved the way Roshan played the role, he has no intention of using his 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 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,” said the actor who is much in-demand for international projects.
“All thanks to my film ‘Warrior’, which Mira Nair saw and cast me in ‘The Namesake’. Not too many people have seen me in ‘Warrior’. One of my proudest moments recently was when Mr. Amitabh Bachchan praised me on his blog. It requires a large heart to acknowledge another actor. He’s a genuine and generous soul,” said the actor.
But Irrfan wont be able to attend the premiere of Nair’s “Kosher Vegetarian” in New York on Oct 16 because the producers can’t afford to have the entire cast and crew over.
“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’. Ther’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,” said Irrfan.