By Subhash K Jha
BOLLYWOOD: Among all the Indian actors who have made forays into firangi filmdom, Irrfan Khan stands tall. In the last 5 years, Irrfan had the singular honour of working in two of the most successful multi-Oscar winning international projects Slumdog Millionaire and The Life Of Pi.
He has also been part the latest Spiderman flick and did a short-film for Mira Nair co-starring Natalie Portman.
Not that Irrfan is sitting on his laurels. His hunger for new challenges is in his own words, insatiable.
Irrfan’s latest challenge is his biggest to date. For a Brazilian film that he has said yes to, the method actors known to go to great lengths to get it right, would be learning how to speak Arabic.
Reluctant to reveal details, Irrfan said, “It’s too early to reveal any details. But it’s a Brazilian film. And I play an Arabic character. So yes, I’ll have to learn Arabic from scratch. I don’t know the language at all. But I am hoping it wouldn’t be so difficult to do since it belongs to the linguistic family as Hindi and Urdu.”
The Brazilian film is not the only one where Irrfan is grappling the grammar and accent of an unfamiliar language.
In Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider Irrfan plays a Kashmiri character and is trying to master the nuances of the way Urdu is spoken in the Valley.
“We are trying to keep the accent at a minimum so that it doesn’t intrude into the character’s connectivity with the audience. Very often we see the accent come in the way.Vishal Bhardwaj and I don’t want that to happen. It’s important for an actor to avoid showing off any skill that he learns for a role.”