Irrfan Khan is one of India’s most visible film exports, striking a balance between the glitter of Bollywood and Hollywood. He’s starred in such Indian pics as mistaken-identity romancer “The Lunchbox,” cultural drama “The Namesake” and, most recently, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, in road movie “Piku” — which has scored more than 1 billion rupees ($15.6 million) worldwide, and counting. And he’s well known to U.S. audiences for roles in films that include “Life of Pi,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”
His next Hollywood projects are also high-profile: “Jurassic Park” sequel “Jurassic World” (which rolls out globally June 10) and Ron Howard’s mystery thriller “Inferno,” based on the novel by Dan Brown, with Tom Hanks reprising the role of Robert Langdon from “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons,” slated for an October 2016 release.
But Khan, who is represented by the Gersh Agency and managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners in the U.S., has no plans to relocate from Mumbai to Los Angeles, because, he says, he doesn’t want to be dependent on Hollywood for his livelihood; his strong standing in India lets him pick and choose his U.S. projects.
“Unless a film gives you a sense of journey — something that becomes a memory and is a process that you enjoy — there is no point in doing it, says the 48-year-old Khan. “I’m looking for those stories that touch audiences and stay with them. And wherever I find them, whether it is Hollywood, Bollywood or France, I’ll jump to do it.”
Future plans include a yet-to-be-titled miniseries about World War II, co-produced by Japan’s NHK, Canada’s Don Carmody Television and the Netherlands’ Fatt Prods.; and the Indian films “Jazbaa,” an action pic with Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and thriller “Talwar,” based on a notorious case of double murder.
The actor also has turned producer through his company, Dore Films, with upcoming releases that include political drama “Madari,” in which he stars, and road-trip movie “Kaash,” which he’s co-producing with filmmaker Mira Nair.
As for his upcoming Hollywood role, Khan plays the corporate owner of Jurassic World. “He is a flamboyant guy,” the actor says. “He wants to give the public more than amusement; he wants to show (people) how small and transient humans are, and how wonderful nature is.”
It’s the kind of larger-than-life role that sits well with Khan’s own nature.
“Hollywood stretches me as an actor,” he says. “It recharges my batteries.”