Easier to reach mass audience via my kind of films now: Irrfan
The actor says he wants 2018 to surprise him just like the year gone by, in which he was able to "cross the bridge" between being a critics' favourite to getting the 'popular' tag on his own terms.
Excerpts from an interview:
How do you look back on 2017? And what do you expect from 2018?
For me, last year closed with a bang. The most interesting thing was, I was honoured at the Dubai International Film Festival along with Cate Blanchett, who is my most favourite actor. So it can't get any better for me. It was a great year not only in terms of the releases, but also special memories of my films The Song Of Scorpions going to Locarno and Doob winning many international awards. I want 2018 to surprise me as well.
You've won a popular award for Hindi Medium, congratulations. This is quite a change from the critics' awards that you usually get. To what do you attribute the mass popularity of that film?
Hindi Medium has been able to crack the magic of marrying content with popularity. I am happy that thanks to it, I crossed the bridge from 'critics favourite' to 'popular acceptance'. And I did it on my own terms; I didn't have to go the so-called massy route.
By the way, I was nominated in the same popular category for my role in Qarib Qarib Singlle as well. That film too did well at the box office.
Which of the two was more difficult to do, and why?
For Hindi Medium, the entire effort went into making an aspirational but fantastic story into a relatable tale, whereas in Qarib Qarib Singlle, my effort went into making a fantastic role as relatable as possible. So in a way, the two roles had to be approached from opposite directions.
At this juncture of your career, how important is it for your performances to reach a wide audience?
It has always been important. But the same time, I can't ignore my need to tell the stories in my way and compromise on the kind of films I want to do and reach a mass audience. So, I am happy that the audiences now want to watch fresher and newer content. It is becoming easier to reach a wider audience, a mass audience through my kind of films. So it's all coming together and happening organically.
Do you see the space between mass entertainers and non-mainstream cinema closing?
It began a few years back as Hollywood cinema was becoming stronger and stronger. With time, regional cinema has also become bigger. Hindi cinema can no longer ignore the audience's need for fresh content. It is now a necessity to have new ways of storytelling if Hindi cinema wants to survive.