A keen observer of human kind, Boman Irani used to observe how people took out money to pay for wafers, when he sat at the ‘galla’ of Golden Wafers, at Grant Road. From such beginnings came the man who can make your stomach ache with laughter in the movies.
But between being a “chips” man and an actor, he was a photographer, then a stage actor and finally he joined Bollywood where practically all his roles have been memorable and satisfying, both to him and the paying public.
The hysterical Dr. Asthana of Munnabhai and the wicked Sardar builder Lucky Singh with the perfect Punjabi accent and gait are characters who have become household names. As has the vehicle he rode in on – namely the Munnbhai series. And then he played the eccentricplayed the ex‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ and recently as an eccentric principal in ‘Three Idiots’, another role which brought him much acclaim.
Boman started his career as a photographer and many models might agree that it was his portfolios that landed them plum assignments to start with. Once he had a photo-shoot session with Shiamak Davar who was not in a mood to be photographed, so Boman did an impromptu song and dance routine. Shiamak spotted his talent and offered him a role in an Alyque Padamsee play ‘Roshni’ which he accepted and then found out that he had the role of a pimp!
Later he portrayed Mahatma Gandhi in Feroze Khan’s play ‘Mahatma v/s Gandhi’. He played an 80-year-old Parsi in ‘I am Not Bajirao’, with the brilliant Marathi stage actor Sudhir Joshi. Boman spent long hours sitting on benches in a park to visualize his role.
His best performances? He is sure they are still to come.