Birthday special: The many faces of Boman Irani

Shopkeeper-turned-hotelier-turned-photographer-turned actor Boman Irani makes the craft look easy in an age of 'method' acting and 'dedicated' living. On his 57th birthday today (2 December), we take a look at the actor who has become an inextricable part of our movies.

Our Correspondent

There are few actors whose appearance on screen gives the film a semblance of reality. Farooq Shaikh was one such. These actors embody a natural grace that makes them members of the brotherhood of common men. They lack the attitude, personality, or charisma that surrounds 'stars'. Yet, it is these actors who leave the deepest imprint in a film. Boman Irani belongs to this league of gentlemen actors.

Irani's performances are natural. Be it as the creepy hotel manager in Darna Mana Hai (2003), the ostentatious dean in Munna Bhai MBBS (2003), the absent-minded principal in Main Hoon Na (2004), the machiavellian realtor in Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006), or the reviled professor in 3 Idiots (2009), his performances are real and identifiable. In each of these roles, Irani's performance underlined a key quality in his acting — the familiarity. In an interview with Hindustan Times newspaper, the actor said, "Every role I have done is really close to me. They are slice-of-life roles."

Another dimension to this talented actor is his versatility. His ability to don personas is secular. From Parsis, Sikhs and Maharashtrians to Christians and Muslims, Irani has played characters from every class, caste, and religion in this country. It is easy to understand his natural ability as a Parsi himself to grasp the personalities of his Parsi characters in films like Being Cyrus (2005), Munna Bhai MBBS (2003), Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012), or Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (2012). But he also has the ability to play characters like Viru Sahastrabuddhe in 3 Idiots (2009), Advocate Rajpal in Jolly LLB (2012), Kishen Khurana in Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006), and Lucky Singh in Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), among others. 

From little films that make an impact to big blockbusters like 3 Idiots and PK (2014), Irani has become the 'go-to' man for the Hindi film industry. If there is a role nobody else can play, this genial Parsi seems to do it with ease. As he said in an interview himself almost a dozen years ago, "An actor should be instrumental in playing a character that tells you a story." 

Few characters tell you stories the way Irani's characters do! Enjoy our short compilation of some of his popular roles here: