Bollywood star Irrfan Khan praised by Inferno co-star Tom Hanks
"Here's what I hate about Irrfan Khan… I always think I'm the coolest guy in the room, and everybody's hanging on to every word I say and everybody's a little intimidated to be in my presence. And then Irrfan Khan walks into the room. And he's the coolest guy in the room."
If you are Bollywood star Irrfan Khan, such praise may be common.
But when it comes from Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks, he can't help but blush at the compliment.
"I don't know how cool I am. That's his observation. I'm very pleased that he sees me that way. Tom is a generous man and a very warm person," said Khan, smiling.
Hanks is reprising his code-breaking professor Robert Langdon character in Inferno.
Khan, 49, said he shared "great chemistry" with Hanks, who has played Langdon twice before in The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009).
Inferno, also a best-selling novel by Dan Brown, sees Langdon going on a chase around the world and against the clock to stop a terrorist plot.
The thriller, opening here on Thursday, also stars Felicity Jones, Omar Sy and Ben Foster.
Khan, who was in Singapore in June with Hanks and Inferno director Ron Howard to promote the film, told The New Paper that he had always been a fan of Hanks and Howard.
And he feels "very lucky" to have won the part of a mysterious and powerful security personnel named Harry Sims in the movie.
Khan, who is becoming a familiar face in Hollywood, was seen in last year's blockbuster, Jurassic World, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man and Life Of Pi, and 2008's Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.
Said Khan: "After Slumdog Millionaire and Life Of Pi, Hollywood saw a potential in the Indian market, something which I've been saying for years.
"There are many talents in India. Our technical crew are working in Hollywood, and a lot of Indian companies are doing special effects for Hollywood movies.
"It's about time Indian actors are slowly being incorporated over there."
Khan, who made his big-screen debut in 1988, added: "A new generation of Indian film-makers are being inspired by international cinema, and they are incorporating those elements in Indian storytelling. That's a great change for our industry."
HOT STUFF: (Above) Khan with co-star Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard in Singapore. PHOTO: SONY PICTURES
Despite his packed filming schedule in India, the suave father of two said he would jump at any chance to work in the US because "there is much to learn in Hollywood".
"The roles offered to me are different from those I play in India," he said.
"They challenge you and they expand you as an actor. There's a lot of space for nuances, and you have to dive deep into the character. It's also a different way of storytelling."
Khan said his popularity has opened more doors in the US, but while making movies in Hollywood is "exciting", the process is "very time-consuming".
He said he had to turn down a meaty part in last year's The Martian because he was committed to Indian comedy Piku.
"I asked my director in India if he could change the dates, but the two other actors, Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, were committed to the dates," he said.
Khan looks forward to more Hollywood production, as there are "many inspiring directors" he'd like to collaborate with.
"I'm open to doing films anywhere in the world."