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Irrfan Khan said no to Ishqiya after my No Smoking flopped, reveals Vishal Bhardwaj: ‘I didn’t pick his call for months’

Vishal Bhardwaj recalled how he had a fallout with Irrfan Khan that lasted for months till the filmmaker offered him a part in Saat Khoon Maaf.

Vishal Bhardwaj and Irrfan Khan have enjoyed a storied collaboration on screen. From Maqbool (2003) to Haider (2014), their partnership lasted for over a decade. In a new interview with The Lallantop, the filmmaker has revealed that he had a fallout with the actor in between and it happened after Irrfan refused to be a part of Ishqiya. Vishal said he was laughing about it, sarcastically, as he had already rejected an female actor who refused to work with Irrfan in the film. (Also Read: Khufiya: Vishal Bhardwaj, Tabu’s thriller to release on Netflix India on October 5. Watch promo)

What Vishal said

“We were making Ishqiya (2010), which Abhishek Chaubey was directing. And obviously, Irrfan had to be in it. We never used to think beyond Irrfan Khan. And he had already agreed. So when we reached out to him, he said, ‘Oh Vishal sir, I’ve given my dates to another film.’ I asked him why. He said, ‘Your No Smoking (2007) flopped so I thought you won’t make another film now.’ And we’d said no to a big female actor because she said I won’t work with Irrfan because he’s not a commercial actor. And we’d told her if you won’t work with Irrfan, we won’t work with you. Now, I’m laughing at it, but I was very angry at him. I said, ‘Films work and flop, but how dare you think that I’d not stand by my films.’ I didn’t talk to him, pick his calls for two-three years. Then he also stopped calling because I didn’t want to talk to him,” Vishal said in the interview.

How Vishal and Irrfan had a patch-up

“Nobody was saying yes to a character in Saat Khoon Maaf (2011) because he was a wife-beater. It was a complex character as he used to feel sexually aroused only by beating up his wife. It was such a terrific character, and written by Ruskin Bond. Every actor, big or small, was saying no to that role. So I thought if Irrfan was there, he’d have got this character. So I called him but dropped the call after the first ring. He called back and asked me why I called him. I told him there’s a role. He said I don’t want a narration, I just want to work with you. So from then, our friendship started again,” Vishal added in the interview.

Vishal and Irrfan were working on an adaptation of Jane Borges and Hussain S Zaidi’s crime novel Mafia Queens of Mumbai, when he was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer.

Vishal has two projects lined for release in the coming weeks: Charlie Chopra & the Mystery of Solang Valley, a whodunit that will release on SonyLIV on September 27, and Khufiya, a spy thriller releasing on Netflix India on October 5.


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