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A healthy Rog this...

After "Haasil" and "Maqbool" brought him accolades, Irrfan looks for contentment with "Rog"



Intense... Irrfan

WHEN LOVE is a disease? Brooding eyes exuding an enigmatic empathy and a swagger bringing forth some ominous expressions, if all this could be present in one form, love could indeed kill. The tagline explains Rog(Illness), Pooja Bhatt's latest production and the form in question is Irrfan who after Maqbool has again fallen for a woman, however, this time interestingly she is a sensuous South African, and a departed soul in the film.

"Yes, I fall in love with the photograph of a lady played by Ilene Hamann, whose murder I am investigating as a police officer in the film. But the film works at different levels. First is the investigation, second is this fascinating love story. And at the third level it captures the psyche of this character going through a strange crisis. The last part is the most interesting because generally our films limit themselves to the script, they don't delve into and capture the human mind. The idea came while shooting, Maheshji (Bhatt), who has written the script and I decided to focus on the behaviour of the person who can't deal with beauty and starts becoming negative in approach," explains Irrfan, terming the character as the biggest challenge in his career.

Irrfan takes his newfound stardom, female fan following, reams being written about him and to top it all, a lifestyle channel such as Zoom offering him a show Kya Kahe, with a hearty laugh. "The industry has suddenly discovered me in a new light. But my feet are very much on the ground. Fortunately, my wife (scriptwriter Sutapa Sikdar) is from the same industry so she understands the ways of Bollywood. She knows I am always there whenever she needs me. We don't believe in you live your life, I have my own."

Actor versus star

Irrfan denies he is representing some kind of change in Bollywood where actors could stand up to stars. "There have always been actors in this industry. Be it Mithun or Amitabh or for that matter Shatrughan Sinha. Problem lies with how much do you experiment once you become a star. I have a strange problem, I want to work both for money and enjoyment. I tried to work for money but that didn't bring me enjoyment. Had I accepted such offers I would have been there in eight out of ten films whose promos are on air. However, I must admit that the idiom of filmmaking is changing and now there is space for actors like me."

His forthcoming films include Mira Nair's The Namesake based on Jhumpa Lahiri's novel where he plays "the significant character of Ashok Ganguly, husband of Ashima Ganguly to be played by Konkona Sen Sharma and father of Gogol to be essayed by Abhishek Bachchan." Then he tests his comic timing in Dubai Return and Sade Saat Phere with Juhi Chawla. And there is also Saurabh Shukla's Chehra.

ANUJ KUMAR

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