One wonders why Anurag Basu is bragging about offering Irrfan Khan a role in Jagga Jasoos. By offering him the role of Ranbir Kapoor’s foster-father in Jagga Jasoos, Anurag Basu insulted the extraordinary actor on several levels.
Firstly it was no more than a glorified cameo character of a quirky eccentric man. In fact, Irrfan turned it down because he was in no mood to do cameos in films where supposedly more saleable stars took the lead.
Irrfan had said as much. “I’ve had this happening to me more than once. Directors whom I worked with in lead roles when they were starting out, coming to me with supporting roles after they became successful.”
Even in Piku where Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan took the lead Irrfan wasn’t sure he would get ample space. That he succeeded in creating an impact in spite of clearly being the third lead in Piku, is more a measure of Irrfan’s talents than anything.
Irrfan had in fact resolved not to play any supporting roles after his commercially successful lead in Hindi Medium and Angrezi Medium. Way back in 2014 he had turned down a huge Hollywood film Jurassic Park after his role was chopped off in another Hollywood franchise The Amazing Spiderman.
Irrfan had said, “I can do walk-on part of 5 seconds if I have to. I’ve no problem with that. But if you are coming to me with secondary roles only because you have a bigger star playing the main lead then sorry, I’m not interested.”
Every director is today shedding crocodile tears over the passing away off an all-time great actor. But the same directors offered Irrfan secondary roles. Could Anurag Basu explain why Irrfan wasn’t good enough to play the title role in Jagga Jasoos and why he was asked to play father to Ranbir Kapoor when Irrfan was only 13 years senior to Ranbir?