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Irrfan has the heft of an Olivier or a Montgomery Clift: Tom Hanks waxes lyrical 

Hanks spoke endearingly about his co-star in the new adaptation of Dan Brown's Inferno, comparing him to Hollywood legends Montgomery Clift and Laurence Olivier. 

Shriram Iyengar

The praise Tom Hanks heaps on Irrfan Khan is the simplest way to measure the latter's growing clout in Hollywood. In a recent interview with Rajeev Masand, the Apollo 13 star compared Khan to legendary stars Montgomery Clift and Laurence Olivier. 

Hanks said, "I was so excited to meet him. We were having meetings, getting measured (for the costumes) and I kept asking "When is Irrfan coming? When is he coming in?'. It was magnificent to have him on the set." Not just that, the star even gave Khan an endearing handwritten postcard to welcome him to the sets.

The card reads 'Irrfan, this will be the most pleasant movie to make, I think, provided you and I have a few more scenes together! If not, we will just have to save the world as is!" 

Directed by Ron Howard, the film is adapted from Dan Brown's Inferno, and casts Hanks as Robert Langdon in another thrilling adventure. Khan plays Harry Sims, the antagonist to Hanks' Langdon. The latest trailer from the movie sees Khan play the menacing opponent to Tom Hanks' bookish hero. 

This competition has not stopped Hanks from following Khan's career with interest. Asked whether he knew about Khan's body of work in India, Hanks replied: "Oh very much! You understand he's had a couple of big films before this." He said, "In Slumdog Millionaire, in which when he came on the screen the first time, I was like 'Who's that? Who is that man?'...Then there was Life of Pi as well. These were two monumental films. So I felt like I was dealing with somebody with the background of Olivier or Montgomery Clift." 

Whoa! That is some big praise coming from a big man. Way to go Khan! 

Inferno releases in India on 14 October.