Boman Irani – known for his impactful performances in both comedic and dramatic roles.

“If someone is waiting for a particular role then they should give up acting…” – Boman Irani

His laughter in between the fits of anger in Munnabhai M.B.B.S. made you uproar in laughter; his ultimate gay portrayal in Dostana was appreciated by all, his cunning & selfish character of a father in Lage Raho Munna Bhai and an adamant, strict character of Virus in 3 Idiots absolutely angered you. His upcoming movie Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi brings an absolutely new side of him as an actor. All these roles add a slice of versatility to his career. Well, I don’t need to introduce him as his various characters itself speak a lot about this funny man who re-invented comedy in his own unique way. Starting his career as a photographer, Boman Irani gradually paved way into theatre, taking acting just as a hobby. His potential was soon recognized and he went onto do some ads and then commenced his Bollywood career which has rocked the entire industry. He turned host for Bloomberg UTV’s show The Pitch and illuminated the small screen too with his persona. In this tête-à-têtewith GR8!, Boman opens his heart out and speaks on his journey as an actor, theatre, cinema, television and lot more….

What made you nod a yes for The Pitch?
Well this show has great potential and I really liked it concept so there was no reason for me to nod a no for it. It gives an opportunity to the common man out there who dreams to make it big in the business world. It’s a great platform for all those people who have dreamt to have their own business and have creative business plans. We have reality shows of all genres and kinds of people like dancers, singers, comedians, aspiring actors & models, dare devils, etc. but never was a show for an aspiring entrepreneur. To be a successful businessman you got to have certain qualities like leadership, creativity, management skills, etc. and if you have it all in You then you are fit for this show. I am happy that I was hosting it and was a part of this enthralling show which changed the lives of few such talented entrepreneurs.�

Weren’t you skeptical to host a show on a news channel where else most of the Bollywood celebs are seen on GEC’s?
It’s a business show so it’s quite apt for the channel Bloomberg UTV and in no way it would hamper the popularity of the show. I guess the audience for this show is different with the correct sense of interest in The Pitch. See the audience is always divided and there are certain people who will only opt for certain things that interest them. The way it happens in movies like some are prone to only watch intellectual, off-beat movies while others will watch the masala, commercial movies and that’s the same equation for television as well. So the kind of audience a show attracts depends on its concept.

You have been a renowned theatre actor; tell us something about those days?
Well to be honest in those days acting was just a hobby for me and photography a profession. At the age of thirty-five I took up acting in plays and never knew that I would be soon so engrossed in it that I would get ahead with movies. But those were really beautiful days and I have enjoyed these moments. Roshni, Family Ties, I am not Bajirao, etc. all have left a mark in my life and I am very much satisfied with my theatre career and these plays were just fabulous.

How was this shift from theater to cinema?
Well this shift didn’t happen overnight, it was a gradual move from theatre to movies. Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. was really a turning point in my film career and after that touchwood I have got movies that really were good. I have been busy with movies thus I haven’t been able to continue with theatre.

One role that you still have not done?
I don’t look at my career waiting for a particular role because as an actor what displays your talent is your acting and living that character which is a part of a story. If you are a person awaiting a particular role then I think you should give up acting as you can’t be waiting for a role that you would want to play irrespective of script and story. A role, a character is a part of the story and it affects the movie and the movie too influences your role. For instance, the character of Virus that I played in 3 Idiots was a common, simple role but played a significant part in the movie and it got that emphasis because the movie was great. If this same role of Virus was in another movie it wouldn’t be as significant. So what you have to select is a good movie rather than a good character. A small role in a good movie will be more appreciated than the lead role in a bad movie. It’s the story that is more important because the movie is based on the story and not on one character.

Your views on Comedy on TV…
I do not get the time to follow any soaps and neither would I like to see them. I love the experience of my TV journey so far and I enjoy the medium. But I seriously feel we haven’t yet explored the medium as much as its caliber. There are just few sitcoms that I have heard about and seen a few episodes of, like Office Office, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai, etc. and there can be much more that can be done on the comedy front. But people are somehow stuck on soaps. The news also is grim and most of the time it’s hyped and there isn’t any positive, happy or good news that you get to see. It’s frightening as people get hooked to it, comedy has a great potential. I feel Sumeet, Satish, Ratna along with the entire cast were just amazingly perfect in Sarabhai. We really need more of such sitcoms and I hope it’s realized soon.

Difference between TV and Bollywood?

The formats of TV and Cinema are extremely different. For instance, a movie is of three hours with a proper beginning, middle and climax where as TV has a leeway of time. TV serial has multiple tracks, storylines and all are inter-woven and also the audiences identify with the characters. In cinema you get to know the character in the initial ten minutes itself thus the actor has a shorter span to impress its audience. In TV if a particular character isn’t picking the pace you can get it killed or simply change the track not focusing on it.

Will you ever do a TV serial?
I am happy doing cinema and would love to do theater but as of now television is something I haven’t really thought of and also it’s quite time consuming. But if something really outstanding and different comes my way, then why not.

Select one- participate in a show, judge or host a show…
See I feel why should I limit myself, I will do what excites me and is interesting. But yes participating is something difficult and I might not do it.

Will you call yourself a TV buff?
Yes, I WAS a TV buff in my school and college days but no more. There was just one channel so there was focused viewing and the schedule used to be fix – the weekly programs, movies on Sunday, Chhaya Geet, etc. I used to be glued to TV and was a great follower of all the serials like Buniyaad, Wagle Ki Duniya, Malgudi Days, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Hum Log, etc. TV was a family thing and at times it included neighbors as well and it had the best sitcoms in those days which are just unmatchable.

Hottest TV personality…
If you ask me the hottest then I would say Sumeet Raghvan, he is a wonderful guy and an amazing actor, and I just loved him in Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai. I like Surekha Sikriji and Mona Singh too.

Favourite TV shows…
Wagle Ki Duniya is my all time favourite and as a kid one show that I never missed was Sports Round Up.

Has television in India progressed?
I am not so sure, I guess too little in too much. The shows that I spoke about like Buniyaad, Wagle Ki Duniya, Malgudi Days, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, etc. were path-breaking shows which were shot on 16 mm. But I am sorry to say that the quality in the years has deprived even though it has progressed technologically. But the cricket coverage is fantastic and has enhanced with time.

One thing you want to amend on Indian TV?
It will surely be the unnecessarily added effects, the panning of camera with those loud sound effects like dhadham & dhudhum. Even the make-up is too eye catchy, it needs to be toned down. The TV actors are talented so why hamper it with such effects and loud make-up. I would like to see the eyes as they speak a thousand words and portray a lot of emotions. I am repeating myself that the actors are quite talented and I am not criticizing them but the style of working.

Indian Television in one word …
Indian television has huge potential and I feel that we have got the technology, talent and also audience but it’s not being explored.

Your journey till now…
It has been an amazing experience and a fulfilling journey and I have been learning with every movie.

Finally what’s in store for the future?
There a few movies coming up soon so I am awaiting their releases and hopefully they will be liked by the people.


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