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[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ollywood star Irrfan Khan took part in a special ‘In Conversation’ event as part of this year’s London Indian Film Festival. The 45 year old actor took audience members on a journey through his career, the Indian film industry, as well as his new-found success in Hollywood. When asked by host Asif Kapadia if he wanted to leave the film industry years ago due to the struggles which he had faced, Irrfan had this to say:

“It was not a struggle in the sense that I was not getting work, it was tough to retain my interest in acting because I was getting bored. So I initially thought I should leave acting and try something else.”

Irrfan ultimately got his big break in Asif Kapadia’s film The Warrior, which received huge critical acclaim upon its release. He went onto star in award-winning films like Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, as well as Paan Singh Tomar, which fetched him the National Award for Best Actor this year.

When asked by a member of the audience if Irrfan will ever return to theatre as a stage actor, he gave the following response: “I keep flirting with this idea of going to the stage. I want to go but when it will happen I really don’t know.” When asked if he now finds it easier to find roles in mainstream cinema which cater to his level of acting, Irrfan said “I’m here to change the definition of mainstream cinema,”, at which the audience applauded.

Irrfan also spoke about his experiences of shooting Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which was one of the biggest commercial hits of 2012. Speaking about having to reshoot portions of the film, Irrfan had this to say:

“After six months of shooting, I suddenly got a call from Ang Lee and he said ‘we need to reshoot certain portions’. I said ‘reshoot’? ‘Which portions?’ He said, ‘All of it’. So I said, ‘Ang. This is like you know I’ve just made love and you’re saying come on go on again’. So he said: ‘just imagine it’s a new girl’!”

Overall the event was a huge success and one of the key highlights of this year’s London Indian Film Festival. The festival closed on July 25 with a screening of the critically acclaimed film Bombay Talkies.

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