Over the years, actor Tom Hanks has enjoyed his reputation as ‘the nicest guy in Hollywood’. Fans across the world routinely share personal stories of meeting the actor, and how wonderful he was to them. Director Steven Spielberg once said about him, “If Norman Rockwell were alive today, he would paint a portrait of Tom.”
In a 2019 profile for The New York Times, the actor admitted, “I recognised in myself a long time ago that I don’t instil fear in anybody. I think I have a cache of mystery.” Hanks turns 64 on July 9.
The actor was his gracious best when talking about his Inferno co-star, the late Irrfan Khan. “Here’s what I hate about Irrfan Khan…” Hanks said at a press event. “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.”
He was so impressed with Irrfan’s acting style that he even tried to copy him. He continued, “And as soon as I walked up to him I said, ‘Irrfan Khan, I’m going to steal from you everything I possibly can. I’m going to start speaking very quietly in films. I’m going to wear very nice suits. And I will draw out the last sound of every sentence that I say.’ And by doing that, I will be doing a very pale imitation of the coolest guy in the room.”
Before filming began, Hanks sent Irrfan a handwritten note. The message read: “This will be most pleasant movie to make, I think, provided you and I have a few more scenes together! If not, we will just have to save the world as is!”
Irrfan wasn’t Hanks’ first brush with Indian cinema. In a 2016 interview to IANS, he had said, “For a lot of years, Indian movies for us were Big B running around in his glasses and beating up bad guys or midgets and stuff like that. We didn’t quite understand what was going on. If everyone starts speaking the common language of cinema, it will start representing itself.”
Hanks’ classic film, Forrest Gump, is currently being remade as Laal Singh Chaddha, with actor Aamir Khan in the lead role. Interestingly, Aamir was described as the “Tom Hanks of India” by none other than Robert Downey Jr.