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Mira Nair owed a role to Irfaan Khan

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Irfaan Khan has evolved as an ace actor through his films. A director's actor Irfaan is lucky enough to work with the talented filmmakers in his film career. He plays a Bengali man Ashoke Ganguly in Mira Nair's forthcoming film The Namesake.

Playing an older character Ashoke Ganguly was not easy for Irfaan Khan as he reveals that Ashoke Ganguly is very silent, calm and imperceptible person. So, to play that silence was challenging for him. He says, "My character doesn't have enough space in the novel. He doesn't express much, so for me it was tough to get hold of the character. I was not so comfortable playing an older man as it is quite different from other roles. It not only requires facial expression but one has to think from an older man's perspective and that's not easy."

According to Irfaan The Namesake is about a couple's journey from India to New York. It's about two people getting married without knowing each other, how they discover themselves. This man has a trauma and he carried that trauma for a long time. It's about how he deals with it.

Irfaan loves to study his characters before playing it on screen. He says, "I did not know that I had to speak English in Bengali accent but when Mira told me my character needs to have a Bengali accent. And to acquire an accent that is not your own looks quite false so I was very worried about it. I was apprehensive about it as I didn't want it to look like a Bengali caricature. We were shooting in New York but I could hardly go out as I worked on Bengali accent a lot and I think it came out well. Many people complimented me while most of them actually felt that I am a Bengali. I think that's an award for an actor to be appreciated by my audience is a big thing for me."

Very few people know that Irfaan started his career with Mira Nair's film Salaam Bombay so how does it feel to play lead role in Mira's film all over again? Irfaan says, "Mira picked me from the school of acting but unfortunately my role was cut and I was so disappointed that time. I was hurt and cried a lot. But when she offered me Namesake she said I owed you a role."

He further says, "Though we didn't work after that, Mira might be aware of my work. I think I was her first choice to play Ashok Ganguly. Incidentally, I was reading Jhumpa Lahiri's novel The Namesake that time so when I was offered this role, I was curious to know how she has adapted the book because it's quite tough thing. Now, I can say that Mira has done a great job."

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