There is no sign of fatigue on Boman Irani’s face when we meet for breakfast at his place one morning. No one could tell that just the night before the actor had taken a long flight back home from the US, where he had gone for a holiday. As we settle down for an interview, I also spot some framed photos clicked by him, hanging on the walls.
Not much has been spoken about Boman, the photographer. That’s what he used to be before he decided to try his luck in front of the camera. But the actor says that the photographer is still very much alive in him. “Those days we had film rolls. It was only after I finished Munnabhai MBBS, did I return to my studio to get back to photography and that’s when I realised that digital photography was a thing. It took a little getting used to. I could click decent photos with the digital camera but I had difficulty in uploading the pictures. I didn’t know how to handle that,” he says with a smile.
He begins to show me some of his Instagram uploads on his iPhone and continues, “Now I am learning the new ways and I am most impressed with this little creature. I find it very exciting. I upload my old pictures, it gives my followers a glimpse of what I did in my past,” says Boman. He further adds, “My only problem is that I don’t want it to become the centre of my universe and I don’t want to go nuts about it. Sometimes I tweet a lot, other times I don’t. As long as I am enjoying it and I do enjoy being on these platforms.” And what does the photographer think of the ‘selfie’? “I posted a selfie recently and sadly it got more hits than any other picture,” he says.
At the moment, Boman is busy giving final touches to his upcoming film Housefull 3, the dubbing of which is on now. “I am also developing something of my own but it’s too premature to talk about. I keep working long hours on that. Films keep coming, but it is the smaller films I pay close attention to. My theory is do four-five films for the kitchen and one for the heart. So right now I am focussing on the latter — the one that keeps me happy. Not that big films don’t make me happy. But I need that joy in my life every once in a while.”
The last such film for him was Jolly LLB, he says. “It was a satisfying film because it said something. It spoke about injustice, and for me, it was a film about integrity.” He says the journey so far for him has been “painstakingly long, but one that seems like a flash.”
Boman has played many eccentric characters, but at the time of Happy New Year, many wondered why he had taken up that role. The actor seems to have no qualms. “I find that the experience of working on films like Happy New Year teach me a lot — you’ve got to pay your bills, and you make new friends. It was one of my greatest experiences. Money should be the last reason to do a film. There have been few cases when I needed to do a film for money. But this one, I jumped into with all my heart. People are always measuring your talent and the output. That’s what an artist has to struggle through all his life. Every film cannot be something that suits you.”
So what space is he in right now? “I would say I am in transition. Sometimes I am not so proud of what I do, but I will stand by it. Sometimes a good ball will go for a six, but you cannot swing the bat at every ball, although I do that at times because I like to keep busy. I hate being dull. And when I become dull I say to myself ‘I am in transition’.”
In an industry rife with rivalry and cold wars, Boman seems to have found a middle ground with everyone. “Yes, I have a lot of friends in the industry — Raju, Farah and Abhishek are some of my closest friends. I get along with everybody. I don’t think I have enemies. If I do, then it’s a secret because people haven’t told me yet,” he says with a cheeky grin.
The actor is known to be very attached to his family. “I derive great strength from my family. I spend as much time as possible with them. My mother and I have this ritual of having tea together, I still learn so much from her. My family might just criticise, but they can never be critical about the bad work that I do. They also know it’s okay and they understand the effort that I put into it for better or for worse. So if I do something that is not at par with my capability, my family will never ever chastise me for it. I am harsh on myself at times, but they keep me going.”