Irrfan Khan: “We cannot continue being known as item number filmmakers”

Bollywood versatile actor Irrfan Khan says Indian cinema needs to connect with the universal audience in an interesting manner. He feels that Indian cinema needs to speak a universal language and change the perception of world about film industry being an ‘item number’.


“We cannot continue being known as item number filmmakers. Bollywood is known as an item number, and we have to change that. We have to connect with a universal audience in a way that they think that there is some interesting kind of cinema coming out of India,” he told reporters.

“We need to find a universal language, which I think Qissa will be able to strike a chord with, and The Lunchbox has done in a big way,” he said.

The actor has worked in the international cinema due to his talent and a good command on the language of cinema. Khan’s films appeal as a whiff of fresh air to an audience for whom Bollywood industry has only been about dances and songs. His powerful performances in hit film like Slumdog Millionaire, The Namesake and Life Of Pi are adorable. He also showed his talent in Paan Singh Tomar and Maqbool.

“We need to find a way of telling stories where a universal audience finds itself engaged in the storytelling. That’s one thing we need to do, and that’s one thing we have not been doing,” he said.

According to him, the onus lies on producers and directors.

“There are new directors who are trying to tackle subjects who weren’t dealt with earlier. Madras Cafe is an example because we don’t make political films, but that’s a well-made movie,” he added.

He also advised that along with the change in the nature of subjects and storytelling, our films also needs a renewed understanding of the importance of Oscar.

“You can’t make a film and sit in your room and watch it. You have to change the perception about Indian cinema when you go to universal audience, and what better way to say that your film is universally accepted than (be at the) Oscar? ,” he said.

The best national Award winner for his film Paan Singh Tomar, said in a statement; “Even your film’s business multiplies a lot. We need to go universal, and how do you do that? Not by winning some award which is happening in India…Our awards are all for TRPs. And a National Film Award doesn’t carry as much weightage as here in the US.”

“As a filmmaker and as an industry, we need to establish our presence in bigger markets. That’s what Hollywood is doing in India, and that’s what we need to do in the rest of the world,” said 46-year-old.

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