He is India's best known Khan abroad. Less exuberant than our other Bollywood export, Anil Kapoor, the lucky man who's worked with gorgeous women Angelina Jolie and Tabu, speaks on life in soft focus. Here's Irrfan Khan, 48, on everything but his role in Spiderman 4 and Life of Pi.
Q: How does it feel to be awarded Padma Shri?
A: I never knew an award would make me so happy. My mother used to feel I wasn't in a respectable profession. Now I feel that what I am doing matters to people.
Q: You're not seen often in romantic films. What made you do Yeh Saali Zindagi?
A: I was dying to do a romantic role since Maqbool. I play a man who has fallen in love helplessly. The way he loves a girl is very fascinating.
Q: How was it working with Chitrangada Singh?
A: Excellent. She is a terrific looker, a talented actor and an intelligent woman. It was good to share screen space with her.
Q: And Priyanka Chopra in Vishal Bhardwaj's 7 Khoon Maaf?
A: I was waiting to work again with Vishal and got a chance to work with one of the finest actresses.
Q: Which of your international projects has the most challenging role?
A: My role in the US TV series In Treatment. The kind of mental state I had to be in and the way it was shot made it a challenge-two people sitting on a couch and making it engaging for the audience.