Boman Irani is a well known name today in the Bollywood industry with a strong audience support for his studied comic roles tinged with traces of villainy in many cases. His entry into the industry was, however, much later in life when he was already 41. In fact, his route to film acting was laced with diverse previous occupations. Along with his love for photography, which many people are not aware of, he had a nascent fondness for acting too, but was never very open about it. It was ultimately
Shiamak Davar who facilitated this and got him to audition for the veteran theatre personality
Alyque Padamsee. Once the acting bug caught on with him, there was never a looking back. He swiftly established himself not only as one of the leading theatre personalities but also one who was clearly acknowledged by many as a prodigy.
Theatre it was, that took him places, and soon he was a familiar face not only on the regional stage but also well known for his roles in English drama in the Mumbai circuit. In fact his most noteworthy stage appearance was in “I am not Bajirao”, which drew audiences for almost ten years. His transition from stage to the silver screen was punctuated by several ad shoots for leading brands, till he finally landed up with a small role in the 2003 film “
Darna Mana Hai”, which in spite of not being commercially successful, had the audience look up to him as an actor of immense talent. For one like he, so obviously steeped into acting and rendering each of his roles with aplomb, it was natural that his name as a character actor of substance spread very fast and wide. His brand of comedy laced with villainous touches has been very popular with his large fan following, but on a more serious note, his performances in other roles too have been appreciated by critics. While the Raj Kumar Hirani films like his first film “Munna Bhai MBBS”, followed by his sequel “
Lage Raho Munna Bhai”, the subsequent “
3 Idiots” and the more recent “
PK” have already made him a character whose next appearance is anxiously awaited, his more serious or varied roles in films like the Yash Raaj films “Veer Zara”; “Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Maara”, remembered for Anupam Kher’s brilliance and Ram Gopal Varma’s crime thriller “My Wife’s Murder” have been equally appreciated by the discerning moviegoers.
With over 70 films to his credit including one in Telegu, Irani’s tally of films and awards is likely to rise steeply, and his place in movies can be considered not as a loss for the world of theatre, but as a gift from theatre to cinema, since he continues to equally enthuse theatres not only in India but elsewhere too with his superb acting skills.