Says Irrfan, "The studio head Peter Rice came to me and said he'd now like to make a film with me in the lead. Do you know Peter Rice is responsible for the film's release? Otherwise it was going straight into a DVD release. Danny Boyle was in a panic mode and was ready to take the DVD offer. But the makers decided to take the film to Toronto and show it to Fox-Searchlight. They chased me all over the world to get some lines re-done, took the film to Toronto. Luckily, Fox-Searchlight loved SM."
Irrfan can't stop marveling at what is happening to the film. "Look at destiny. Look at the kids! People are going mad over Freida Pinto. The photographers won't leave her in peace for even a second. Freida has signed Woody Allen and Dev Patel has signed Manoj Shyamalan. We're going to see much more Bollywood-Hollywood collaborations in future."
Back in Mumbai, Irrfan Khan and Oscars-winner Resul Pookutty had to be whisked hurried out on a police van from Mumbai's airport. "When we landed we had no idea what crowds were waiting for us until we were told it was difficult for us to step outside. We had leave in a police van."
Recalling the Oscars experience Irrfan says, "We never doubted that Slumdog Millionaire would get the Oscars. The minute we stepped on to the red carpet at the Kodak theatre they were shouting our names. The mood was, how could you not give this film the Oscars? Our producers Fox -Searchlight were really anxious. They got the Best Film Oscar after 40 years. I think the kids in SM did the trick. They won over the global audiences' hearts. We grown-up actors were the bonus."
The fruits of the Slumdog Millionaire (SM) experience at the Oscars and global box-office are already ripening. While Anil Kapoor seemed to be enjoying every second of his glamorous avatar on the red carpet, Irrfan says he's very much ill-at-ease doing it. "I love going to film festivals. But not to these red-carpet thingies."
Recalling his touchdown at the Mumbai airport after the Oscars Irrfan says, "I felt like the bridegroom at a baraat. It was so moving. The reception I got at the Mumbai airport was equal to any Oscar."
He recalls his association with Resul Pookutty who won the Oscar. "Resul and I started our careers at the same time. Resul kept working silently for a decade. He deserves this recognition. As for me I was pleasantly surprised to be recognized in LA as the actor from The Namesake and A Mighty Heart."
In fact Irrfan has been selected by Forbes magazine as one of the 6 Bollywood faces that have made an impact in Hollywood.
"That was news to me, and very pleasant news at that. I've waited long for this recognition. I became a recognizable name abroad after The Namesake. But I wish it had happened after Warrior. In the truest sense it changed my life. It came at a time when I was losing heart regarding the roles coming my way. I was thinking of changing professions. I was quite bored. I became an actor to explore my emotions and go beyond the mundane, like Dilip Kumar and Naseeruddin Shah did. I wanted to experience something magical. Warrior gave me that chance."
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