At a screening of the recent Marathi blockbuster ‘Sairat’ he organised, Irrfan, asked about ‘Natsamrat’, said: ‘Outstanding film. I think it should’ve won the National Award for Nanaji. Anyway, I wasn’t in the jury.’
The Mahesh Manjrekar-directed ‘Natsamrat’, starring Nana as a veteran stage actor, was a highly critically acclaimed film, which also did brilliant business at the box-office.
Incidentally, it was megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who won the Best Actor National Award for ‘Piku’ in which Irrfan also played a crucial role.
Considering the fact that most of the National Awards winners this year have been films which released in 2015 such as ‘Piku’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, it is not clear if ‘Natsamrat’, which released on January 1, 2016, still has a chance next year.
Films such as ‘Tharai Thappattai’ and ‘Sairat’, which released in 2016, have however been considered this year. Apparently there is a particular rule, which state that the film has to be certified by the CBFC between January 1 and December 31 to be considered for National Awards.
About Marathi cinema in general, Irrfan added: ‘Marathi film industry is hitting a sixer every year. And this is great for Indian film industry… In Marathi cinema, when Umesh Kulkarni had started making his films, ‘Vihir’, ‘Deool’, that’s when I came to know that some interesting work happens there. And since then I have been in touch with Marathi cinema and have been watching it.’
About the importance of regional cinema, he added: ‘Regional cinema is what is creating a new kind of cinema. The way Hollywood and Hindi cinema has got popular, similarly regional cinema has also got popular, and Marathi cinema is the prime example of it. Every year some good film is coming from there. I feel that in some other place as well regional cinema will evolve with fresh cinema.’
Is Irrfan open to acting in Marathi films? ‘Yes, why not? If I get a good role and a good director, then definitely I’ll run to do it.’
Irran has acted in a Bengali and a Telugu film before.