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'Why is there hardly any talk of Bafta awards here?'

Anjum N | February 21, 2003 15:55 IST

Irfan KhanActor Irfan Khan, who played the lead in Asif Kapadia's The Warrior, wonders why the Indian media is not as excited about the British Academy Film Awards as it is about the Oscars.

"The Warrior has been nominated for the Bafta Awards. So is Devdas. But there is hardly any talk of the awards here. Do you have any idea why?" he asks.

Nominees for the Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards were declared January 27, and The Warrior bagged three nominations. These include the Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year, the Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a director, screenwriter or producer in their first feature film (The Warrior is director and co-writer Kapadia's first film) and Best Film Not in the English Language.

The last mentioned category also includes Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas. The Bafta Awards will be declared February 23.

Khan was shooting for Madhur Bhandarkar's Aan -- Men At Work, where he plays a criminal Yusuf Pathan, when rediff.com approached him. With just a couple of days left for the Bafta awards to be announced, he seemed more focused on his international film than the fate of his next Hindi movie, Shyam Ramsay's Dhund -- The Fog.

Khan's last release was Amol Shetge's Gunaah, where he played a corrupt, womanising cop with Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea. Though the film flopped, his mean villainous act was well received.

Are you looking forward to the release of Dhund?

Dhund is one of those usual commercial Hindi films. It is a thriller with some murder and suspense. But not very different from what we have seen before.

Tell us about your role.

Irfan Khan in The WarriorI play a man who loves his sister dearly. He is the type who will do anything for her. My sister wants to win always, but keeps losing to the heroine Aditi Gowitrikar. When she decides to participate in a beauty contest, I warn Aditi to keep away.

Aditi does not pay heed and I decide to land up at her home to threaten her. One person gets killed in the process. Just when people are guessing the identity of the murderer, the dead person returns, raising many questions.

But it is the usual commercial film with songs and romance.

You don't seem very excited about the film.

Nothing like that. But it is not like The Warrior where I had a different kind of role.

I'm actually looking forward to Tigmanshu Dhulia's Haasil, which again is a very different film. Haasil is set in a college campus in northern India. It is about Jimmy Shergill entering college and getting involved in a power struggle with Ashutosh Rana. I support Shergill in his attempts to usurp Rana's political control over the institution.

You mean you and Ashutosh Rana play college students?

(Smiles) The film, as I said, is based in northern India where students continue to remain in college so that they don't have to give up power. They join law or some other course, but remain students. We play those kinds of people here.

It is a hard-hitting film that has been made very realistically. And it has beautiful language. All of us speak pure Allahabadi [a Hindi dialect]. The film is expected to release the month after the World Cup.

Which other films are you doing?

I have a couple of interesting films in hand. We will be starting the shoot for Vishal Bharadwaj's next film Maqbool, a Hindi film version of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

With Naseeruddin Shah and Kay Kay?

(Smiles meaningfully) No. Now it has Naseer, Om Puri, Tabu and me. I am doing the role offered to Kay Kay. We will undergo a three-day workshop before the shoot begins.Irfan Khan

Then I have Dubai Returned, which will be directed by Aditya Bhattacharya [who made Raakh with Aamir Khan]. It will be another interesting film about losers. The cast includes Vijay Maurya, Razzak Khan and Divya Dutta.

You seem happier doing small budget, non star cast films.

Yes. It is good for actors like us that new filmmakers are entering the industry and making different kinds of film. It has opened so many chances for us. We are at a peculiar stage where films made with big budgets and bigger stars are failing, and small films are getting recognised. Different storylines are being experimented with, fresh characters are being written. Yes, I enjoy such films.

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