Irrfan Khan, one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, who has also played significant roles in Hollywood movies such as Life of Pi, The Amazing Spiderman, Jurassic World and other blockbusters, has us all eagerly waiting for the release of his latest Hindi film, ‘Qareeb Qareeb Singlle‘ (QQS). After the critically acclaimed ‘Hindi Medium’ took the cinemas by storm, this one is another romantic-comedy that the audiences are looking forward to with high expectations. Irrfan Khan’s co-star, Parvathy, a Malayalam film actress, seems to be at par with the seasoned actor although this is her debut in Hindi Films.
FUCHSIA speaks to Irrfan and Parvathy and here’s what they have to say about the upcoming film.
FUCHSIA: QQS! What should the audience expect?
IRRFAN KHAN: The audience should expect a romantic-comedy, a heartwarming film and a mad journey of two completely opposite and diverse individuals.
It definitely has an old time charm to it as the sexuality is not so underlined, although there is a lot of romance. The kind of movies Tanuja makes, this one is a kind of departure from that. This is a very personal and intimate script.
FUCHSIA: Parvathy, you have done a number of South Indian films and this is your debut in Hindi cinema. Why did this particular script convince you?
PARVATHY: The first time I listened to the story over the phone, when Tanuja called me, although it was to work out dates and schedules, she just gave me a one-liner in the flow of conversation. I had never done a romantic comedy genre per se, and that was even more exciting for me because most Rom-Coms have taken their inspiration from Hollywood movies and I wanted to know more about the Hindustani aspect of it. When I got to meet her and the co-writer, I couldn’t stop laughing, and feeling deeply the whole time during the narration, that I was sold on it.
Also, that I was being guided by two brilliant writers, and a director like Tanuja Chandra, to play the character as the ordinary Jaya. It’s in the ordinary that the character becomes extraordinary. I know that the nuances are going to be extremely hard to find. There are very fine lines between the change of emotions and it’s not as jarring and as evident as a typical ‘heroine’ character. All of these became a huge part for wanting to do this film.
FUCHSIA: How was it working with Irrfan Khan. We have heard you did not have time to be star struck by him?
PARVATHY: (Laughs pleasantly). No, he didn’t give me any reason to be star struck by him because he barely ever acts like a star. He is called a star for very good reasons and I hope this is never taken out of context. When I read that headline I thought to myself ‘Oh that does not sound very positive’.
FUCHSIA: (In retort). It sounded very humorous to us actually!
PARVATHY: I thought it sounded very arrogant (She imitated herself being airy about it while we all laughed it off).
What I actually meant was, he never really gave me a reason to focus on anything else but the work we were engaged in. He is an actor who is so committed to his work, that all our discussions, debates and the time spent together was about the film, about the story and how to make it better. Irrfan Khan truly understood ‘Jaya’. He would ask me questions about her which would challenge me and require me to find answers. So that’s what I meant – he brought the actor in him and that’s all he would be in front of the cameras. He carries all his achievements very humbly with him. It is brilliant to work with an actor who is committed to the craft and understands what it is to be a team player.
FUCHSIA: Irrfan, there is a common thread of wit and humour in a lot of roles you play. Is that a deliberate Irrfan Khan touch?
IRRFAN KHAN: I can relate to that kind of humour. I do bring my life into it. I do try and explore certain aspects of mine sometimes. The only deliberate attempt has been that I find scripts that can warm your heart, to make you think and to engage larger audiences.
FUCHSIA: So, what kind of scripts draw you towards them?
IRRFAN KHAN: Different types of scripts at different times, I would say. However, there must be some area in the story which I haven’t explored before, something which is new for the audience and challenging for me. I find repetition boring so it shouldn’t be a character which I’ve already played.
FUCHSIA: Do you ever improvise on the set of a film?
IRRFAN KHAN: I do. For instance my character in QQS required me to relate to my past again and again. The character ‘Yogi’ had relations with women in the past so the way he looks back at them is very interesting.
FUCHSIA: Any interesting incidents which took place during the making of QQS?
PARVATHY: The entire travel part was extremely interesting for us. We had great locations and the experience of exploring all those places together with the entire team was very heartwarming.
Although, the whole idea of river-rafting was very difficult for me, having hydrophobia! So the whole idea was that I’m supposed to be really enjoying it while Irrfan was supposed to be super scared, which of course, in reality, he wasn’t – being the bungee-jumping, sky-diving kind of guy.
So, that was a tough day for me. I was not myself and I was shivering. I don’t even remember that day quite well except for being petrified and everyone trying to calm me down by saying it’s not even that deep. You can walk in the water if you wish to, etc. They had a good laugh though!
FUCHSIA: What about you Irrfan? You must have some stories to share too.
IRRFAN KHAN: (Laughing). All the enjoyment I had, I have put in the film for the audience to enjoy. I really hope they enjoy watching the movie the way we enjoyed making it.
FUCHSIA: Have you watched any films or drama serials from the Pakistani showbiz industry?
IRRFAN KHAN: There was a channel called ‘Zindagi’ and the serials on it were very popular amongst a large audience here, but now that channel has been discontinued. I don’t watch television so I haven’t watched any, but from what I have gathered, it was a change in terms of the kind of serials Indian audiences were watching – the pace, sense of story, the characters – and people loved it here.
FUCHSIA: How was it working with Saba Qamar in Hindi Medium?
IRRFAN KHAN: Excellent! She is a performer, a very happy-go-lucky person. We loved working together and we had a great time.