How did Gangs of Wasseypur happen?
I had auditioned for Dev D. That didn’t work out, but Anurag (Kashyap) told me, “I will work with you in the future”.
As a newcomer, how was it like working with senior actors like Manoj Bajpai?
Totally unnerving, but I made friends for life.
How did you prepare?
I didn’t. Anurag wanted me to be instinctive. I just worked on the dialect.
That must have been tough.
Manoj helped me with the dialect. He told me, “‘Sh’ ko ‘s’ kar do, ‘f’ ko ‘ph’, aur ‘z’ ko ‘j’.” So it was ‘Phaijal’ Khan, instead of Faizal Khan. It became simple after that. He supported me, being around after his shots got over, and gave me cues.
What was the biggest challenge in this role?
I had to go from being 16 to 60, and had no reference point for older characters. I had to thicken my voice. And the make-up, complete with a prosthetic stomach, would take two hours to put on and an hour to take off. I’d just lie in my innerwear and let the make-up artists do their job. It was embarrassing!
The film is five-and-a-half hours long. How will it be screened?
Only the first part, which is two-and-a-half hours long, is releasing now.
How was Cannes? Anyone you met who got you starry-eyed?
Very beautiful; a dream come true. Jean Dujardin crossed my car, looked at me and winked!
You are shooting in Delhi currently.
For Tamanchey, a love story of two outlaws.
Will you do an out-and-out commercial film?
I would do any good role. My only criterion is that I shouldn’t be a prop.
Looking at international projects?
Yes, one will be made out of Berlin, the other out of New York.