Firoz Irani

firoz irani
Film Actor

Most people have godfathers before they enter the film industry. And some like myself find them on our journey in films. Arun Bhatt for me was that Godfather.

I had been acting on stage and then in films since 1965. But it was the film “Lohini Sagaai”, produced and directed by Arunbhai that made me who I am today. in 1979, when Arunbhai was in the process of making “Lohini Sagaai” with Rajeev and Snehlata, he wanted to cast a villain who had no previous baggage of past films. He chanced upon me and gave me a narration of the role. I was in a state of shock at first and couldn’t believe that Arunbhai was offering me such a layered character in his film. It was a role of a sly and vicious blackmailer who would be playing a young as well as an old man through the course of the film. How could I refuse this? I immediately said yes to him and from then onwards I never had to look back!

Prior to starting filming “Lohini Sagaai”, he asked me to think of what “new” I could bring into this character that blackmails people only till his monetary needs are satisfied. Arunbhai himself came up with the idea of making me wear a small bell (ghughri) around my neck and asked me make a clinking sound whenever I asked for money – indirectly symbolizing the clinking sound of coins. He extracted a very underplayed performance from me. Every scene of mine in the film was so menacing – without any shouting or screaming!

Then onwards, I always thought of some mannerism or characteristic for all the roles I played. The did many films under Arunbhai’s direction like “Hiro Ghoghe Jai Aavyo”, “Jugal Jodi”, “Pankhino Maalo”, “Shetal Tara Unda Paani” etc.

The fact that the people still love me as a villain after all these years, the credit for this goes to one man – Arun Bhatt. I really miss him.

Based on his interviews on Devang Bhatt’s show Atithi and Mission Manoranjan on Doordarshan Girnar