Actor Irrfan Khan, who is back from the premiere of his latest film “Inferno” in Florence, says this is a good time for Indian cinema and actor.

“I can say with full authority that this is a great time to be an Indian actor. Our cinema is being recognized and acknowledged internationally. Very soon Indian actors will be able to make their presence felt in every corner of the world. It’s just a matter of time,” he said.

The premiere of the film happened at an opera theatre, the Opera di Firenze in Florence, and Irrfan was delighted to hear how minutely the journalists gathered at the venue watched the film.

“They asked intricate literary questions about the film from all of us. They wanted to discuss the film’s connection with Dante’s Inferno. No one asked me about Indian politics,” said Irrfan.

The eminently international Irrfan is back in India for just a few days until his new Hollywood film “Inferno” releases on Friday.

“Actually I’m supposed to be in the US for some important meetings. I had to cancel them and get back home when my producers of ‘Inferno’, in all their wisdom, decided to release our film in India two weeks in advance of the rest of the world. That sort of threw me off gear, in a good way,” laughs Irrfan pleasurably.

“So, here I am just for a few days to do press in India,” he added.

Irrfan has plenty of reason to be flattered. The producers of “Inferno” decided to advance their film’s release in India to cash in on Irrfan’s presence in the cast.

“It is true they thought since I was in the cast, they wanted me to be the face of the film in India. I gladly and humbly accepted the honour, and here I am,” said the actor.

Tom Hanks, Irrfan’s co-star in “Inferno”, recently was quoted as saying, “I thought I was the coolest guy in the room until Irrfan walked in.”

Irrfan laughs it off as his great co-star’s magnanimity,

“Just being around Tom Hanks is so enriching for me. He is a very generous co-star, colleague and I can comfortably say we’re friends. ‘Inferno’ has a truly global cast.”

“It gave me a chance to get to know actors from all across the world. To me the biggest advantage of working abroad is the exposure I get to international talent,” he said.

The film is releasing in India on Friday.

By Subhash K. Jha