Munnabhai 2 will get a thumbs up: Boman Irani
Thursday, August 03, 2006 13:21 IST
By Santa Banta News Network
Boman Irani tells Subhash K Jha why he feels he is the luckiest sod on this earth.

Q: First tell me is Lage Raho Munnabhai turning out as funny as the original?
A: I'm playing a Sardar, for the first time. I'm called Lucky Singh. It's so scary to say this. But it's turned out even better. Films are great only when audiences make it so. I've a feeling audiences will give Munnabhai 2 a thumbs up.

As for the director Raj Kumar Hirani, he's made it better than the first. He has written it so well. And Arshad Warsi is out of the world. Sanjay and he are so good together. I play a totally different character.

The audience will have to get used to me afresh while Sanjay and Arshad play extensions of what they've already done.

Q: Last year was eclectic and exciting for you. How about this year?
A: You're right. Last year I had an up and a down too. Sujoy Ghosh's Home Delivery was a downer.But never mind. Sujoy will learn. I'd happily do his next film. You can't cling only to successful people all the time. Then you never learn.

I feel some of the things that I learnt during Home Delivery were not there to be learnt even in Munnabhai. Something went amiss. It's okay. Let's not go on and on about. Give Sujoy another chance. He's ready with two more scripts.

That's the spirit....I also had Waqt and My Wife's Murder last year. I enjoyed them immensely. I can't bear saying this myself. But I immensely enjoyed playing my character in My Wife's Murder.

Q: And this year?
A: Homi Adjania's Being Cyrus was released. Now I've Dibakar Banerjee's Khosla Ka Ghosla, Vinod Chopra's Eklavyya, Farhan Akhtar's Don and Raj Kumar Hirani's Munnabhai 2. I just did a cameo in Naseeruddin Shah's film Yun Hota To Kya Hota. He said he had a role that he wanted only me to do. There was no question of not doing it.

Q: What do you do in Don?
A: I play d'Silva. I saw Don as a kid. Images of Amitabh Bachchan running through the dhobi ghat are still alive in my mind. Today when I had a chance to be part of that movie experience why should I deny myself the privilege?

I love what Farhan Akhtar is doing in Don...the fast cars, the gadgets, beautiful women...the whole slick flick thing. I'm doing the whole range of films, from Indra Kumar's go-for-it comedy Pyare Mohan to Vinod Chopra's Eklavyya.

Q: Do you enjoy being famous?
A: I bask in the affection I get on the streets. Recently I went into the kitchen of a restaurant to meet the cooks. They were people I didn't know. But what a joy it was meet them! Such experiences wouldn't happen if I was doing only one kind of cinema. I'm enjoying doing Munnabhai and My Wife's Murder side by side. I'm happy as long as the actor in me gets something to chew on.

Q: And now you pair with Shabana Azmi...
A: Yes in Reema Kagti's Honey Travels Pvt Ltd. The film has an ensemble cast of honeymooning couples, and we are the oldest.

Q: But you're really not that old?
A: Yes. But we PLAY old. Shabana and I don't exactly look like honeymooners, do we? When we arrive at the hotel for our honeymoon all the young honeymooners are welcomed....and then they look at us. It's been a joy interacting with Shabana and the rest of the cast.

Shabana and I had met at the Locarno film festival. We had really let our hair down in Locarno when I was there with my first film Let's Talk.Since then we've bumped into each other and had long conversations.

Q: This role will take you away from the character slot.
A: Yes, in the sense that I've a leading lady this time. Though I must add Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd is an ensemble piece. Shabana and I hope to be cogs in the wheel. That's the only way the film works. What makes this one doubly challenging is that I'm working with a new director again.

No one can accuse me of not working with new directors. In my fifteen films so far at least ten have been with first-time directors.

I'm so proud of being part of the growth of directors like Ram Madhvani, Farah Khan, Raju Hirani and Ruchi Narain. It's a joy to sit and listen to the ideas that these freshers have in their heads.

Q: Ruchi Narain's Kal was very strange.
A: I didn't enjoy that film at all. But one is allowed a film that goes wrong once in a while. I think everything got confused on the editing table. We could see the kachumbhar. ...Anyway Reema has our support in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd.

Shabana and I are having a lot of fun. There're lots of talent in this film including a very young bright girl called Shahana. So the spectrum for me goes all the way from Shabana to Shahana.

Q: How was the experience of working with Homi Adajania in Being Cyrus?
A: Yet another new director. I played a character whom you can't ignore for sure. I played quite a goon. My co-star Saif is going from strength to strength. I'm so glad he picked out something unusual like Being Cyrus. ....And guesss what ? I put on a big beard in Vinod Chopra's Eklavyya.

I hope I've got the shuddh hindi right. I'm particularly looking out for this one. Again this is a character that isn't me. I'm the luckiest sod in the world. I get to be so many people who aren't me. You know someone wrote, in Being Cyrus I played myself because I'm a Parsi.

That horrified me. How can anyone you say that? Thank God I'm in Indian cinema at a time when I can go out and do things. Otherwise we were dictated to. I'm a blessed child.

Q: Anything else...Are you having an affair?
A: Sorry. I'm a boring old Parsee. No affairs for me. It's so wonderful to have a family to come home to, to sit with them pull each others legs...to lose all of that, for what?! Who's got the time? I'm having great fun working.
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