For the whole of India, Irrfan Khan's role in the upcoming film Inferno has created unprecedented excitement.
The actor, who was last seen as the voice of 'Baloo The Bear' in the dubbed version of The Jungle Book, is one of the reasons why the film will be releasing a week prior in India (on 14 October 2016) than its US release date.
Tom Hanks will be reprising his role as Robert Langdon for the third time in Dan Brown's Inferno. The audience are expected to experience the same faced-paced thriller that the previous two films are known for.
The plot of Inferno is as follows: Set in Florence, Italy, Langdon wakes up in a hospital room implanted with a device that gives him visions of Dante's 'Inferno'. The film adaptation of Brown's sixth novel also has Felicity Jones star alongside Hanks, and Irrfan Khan plays a pivotal character simply known as 'The Provost'.
The actor talked to Firstpost about his role in the film, working with Tom Hanks, how he feels about Trump and the presidential debate in an one-on-one interview. Excerpts:
On Inferno and working with Ron Howard:
The actor tells us how it was filming in Florence, Venice, Istanbul and Budapest:
"Working on the film was outstanding. (Ron) Howard is one of those directors that has a lot of input for the actors. He actually collaborates with them. Also the kind of speed he carries with him is amazing. He shot the film in less than two months. It was a rollercoaster ride, an energetic ride, something I was glad to be on. This film is going to be a roller coaster ride for the audience and it was a rollercoaster ride for us — the cast and crew. And even though I was working with everyone for the first time, it was a very warm environment"
How he feels about Tom Hanks
Khan was all praise for the actor:
"Tom Hanks is a special man, a very warm man. I’ve never seen that much warmth in an actor. The way he carries his lines, the way he treats his surroundings, the way he respects his profession, the way he is excited about being an actor it is very inspiring."
On Dan Brown and the book:
The actor has always been a fan of Dan Brown. He elaborates:
"I have always been a fan of his novels and I had loved reading The Da Vinci Code. I did of course read the book to prepare for the character. It's a compulsory thing for me. The book gives me a lot of inputs and gives me a lot of material."
On playing a character with shades of grey:
He talks about playing Harry Simms, 'The Provost':
"The job that my character does in the film is very unique. That was something that was very difficult for me to research, so other than reading the book, I tried getting different points from different sources."
On Hollywood incorporating Indian talent
Khan elaborated the changing world of cinema:
"Hollywood has understood the possibility of the market here. This is not for the first time, but they have always been incorporative of talent from other countries. Different countries they have always been open, of incorporating talent from say China, Japan, Korea or even Mexico and Spain. Now that they realise the possibility of the market here, they have been more open. This also helps them keep their storytelling fresh and engaging."
Does he think now that visibility of India has increased in the World cinema scene, there is a more possibility of Indians winning the Oscars?
"Well no, I think there's always been a possibility. It depends on the director and the scirpt. It could have happened in 1920 and it could happen next year. Its the talent that matters."
Does the actor entertain Oscar dreams? Khan, who is one of the most well-known Indian actors in the world, says:
"I don’t think or dream for an Oscar. It's more about my work. As an actor I am here to tell a story, a story that can be remembered."
On the changing facets of Bollywood:
The actor feels Bollywood has undergone quite a transformation.
"Definitely, times are changing in Bollywood. There are a section of films which are reflecting life, which are trying to deal with and certain issues in society; trying to engage in important dialouges. Like Shoojit Sircar’s Pink. I think the film finally says what needs to be said: 'no means no.' I really thought the way it was done was very beautiful. So yes, Bollywood is incorporating subtle but important changes."
His future plans:
Khan reveals he has no qualms about returning to the small screen.
"Well you know you never know about the future. I'm not interested in thinking what's going to happen in the future, I just do my job. I take it as it comes. We will see. I take on the role after I see the story. What is exciting to me in the story, my character, what are the things my character will like to explore."
About the US Presidential elections:
Khan spent some time in the USA when the first presidential debate aired. He said:
"I really feel Hillary Clinton killed it in the first debate. But this course of the presidential elections is like a circus. It's a drama for the whole world to watch, and everyone is watching it. USA is a powerful country, yet this circus is happening."