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Filmmaker Uday Shankar Pani recalls Irrfan’s early days while working on Salaam Bombay

Filmmaker Uday Shankar Pani was 1st AD on the project and recalls interesting anecdotes.



Irrfan in Salaam Bombay

Actor Irrfan Khan actually got a lucky break to do a major role in Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay in 1986. . Irrfan even did his workshops regularly and worked hard for the role, but suddenly got replaced for the same role by a bigger name – Raghubir Yadav. Irrfan though did not grumble or get upset. He was tolerant and a professional from the beginning of his career. He gracefully backed out and even agreed to do a day’s cameo for the same film!

After his day’s shoot for the film, Irrfan expected at least Rs 5000. But I was the first assistant director and line producer on that project and bargained for Rs 2000. Like a tolerant professional, Irrfan quietly took the money and walked away.

Years later, when I directed Siddharth Kak’s ‘Mano Na Mano’ I was surprised to see the same Rs 2000 worth actor now commanding two lakh rupees for a day’s shoot as the anchor! So impressed was even Mira Nair that the same tolerant and professional actor became her favourite, and she cast him in the lead for one of her major films, The Namesake!

— Uday Shankar Pani, First assistant director and line producer on Salaam Bombay

(This is an excerpt from our special May 2020 issue on Rishi Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. Please click on this link to read more)

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