Lists/2012 Celebrity 100 | Jan 29, 2013 | 14139 views

Being Boman Irani

The Munnabhai MBBS actor took a punt past 40 when he went from behind the camera to face it. Then, at 53, he broke into the big league
Being Boman Irani
Image: Ryan Martis
Forbes India Celebrity 100 No. 74 “Money doesn’t drive me crazy. I would rather lose my sleep over a role that I am unprepared for”


do a lot of movies. I have done 63 movies in under 10 years. That’s a hell of a lot. And the reason why I could do it is that I am not a lead actor, which means that my work in a film is 15-20 days’ work, while a lead actor will work for about 45 days. That way, I can do more films but I am cutting down on it.

The pressure to do movies should not be money-driven. There might have been wonderful amounts of money that may have come in but I don’t do a film. I might do a stupid film but there is a reason. I will do it for a friend, I will do it for somebody who is trying to get a break or a comeback. Why did I do Batuk Patel [Housefull]? Sajid [Khan] had told me five years ago: “When I make my debut film, give me your word that you will be part of it.” And I had said: “Done.” I was in England and they were shooting there and they needed four days. I had a reason. I was offered to do his fourth film also —Himmatwala—but it needed a lot of time (35 days) so it was not possible.

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I choose my roles on “the pitch”. A one-line pitch is a must. Then the story in a nutshell. Narrate your opening sequence. Narrate your climax because in India scripts are not written comprehensively. (And I am sorry to say this.) Narrate the director’s favourite sequence in the movie. We know the beginning. We know the ending. We know the high point of the film. If these attract me, I ask the director to send me the script. Because I know where the director is going with it, I know what’s exciting him. And then the main question: Why do you want to make the film? If he says I want to make an out-and-out entertainer, I am fine with that. If somebody says that, he is being honest.

You are building a brand as an actor. Nobody is actually interested in how much money you have. At least that’s not what I am interested in. I am interested in a good life. Maybe get the things I was always interested in as a teenager which I could not afford. For instance, I have this giant screen in my home and I am happy. I get to travel as and when I want, I am happy. Money doesn’t drive me crazy. I would rather lose my sleep over a role that I am unprepared for, lose it enough to be prepared for it. It is my high. It is my substance. And I will abuse that substance as long as I live.

I think we are undermining the importance of a supporting actor. Remember the supporting actor, especially the antagonist, is always alone. He is the stumbling block. The greatest thing about the performance in Khosla Ka Ghosla is the writing. I will tell you why. It is not about how the character is portrayed. It is about how the character has been written before it comes on screen. That’s the beauty. Arre who saap addmi hai… Khurana… hahahahha…. bahut danger cheez hai yaar [He’s a snake…Khurana…he is dangerous]. You say who the #$%# is Khurana, man? Khurana ne mera zameen le liya. Aur abhi uska ho gaya…usne deewar banake rakh di. Abhi akhade se log leke gaya…usko jail me dalwa diya. [Khurana grabbed my land…now it’s his…he’s built a wall around it. He’s got in wrestlers…he’s put him in jail].

This article appeared in the Forbes India magazine issue of 08 February, 2013
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Comments (2)
Coolsap Jan 29, 2013
Boman.. Thanks for saying that you did some things for a friend. like working in Housefull for Sajid.. It was a crappy movie and ur acts were crappy as well... Thanks for acccepting it
Indresh Mishra Jan 29, 2013
I had respect for Boman Irani, after reading this article the level of respect has increased. Also the Interview is well written .
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