Bollywood Actor Boman Irani Talks Working With Oscar-Winning ‘Birdman’ Writer Alexander Dinelaris on Directorial Debut

Popular Bollywood actor Boman Irani is making his directorial debut with “The Mehta Boys.”

Irani starred in 2002 Locarno title “Let’s Talk” and shot to Bollywood fame with his roles in “Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.” (2003) and “Main Hoon Na” (2004). He also had significant roles in “Khosla Ka Ghosla” and “Don” (both 2006) and “3 Idiots” (2009). Irani has more than 100 acting credits with his most recent film release “Dunki” being one of the top 10 Indian hits of 2023.

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Irani delivered the opening fireside chat of the inaugural Cinevesture International Film Festival and market in Chandigarh, northern India, on Thursday, in conversation with Vaibhav Munjal, founder of Chalchitra Talks. During the chat Irani revealed that the script for “The Mehta Boys” is co-written with Alexander Dinelaris.

“‘The Mehta Boys’ is the story of a father and son. They spend 48 hours together and they can’t stand each other,” Irani said.

Irani met a few writers in New York for the film. “One of them was this writer who had no film credits. But when I narrated the story he took out a paper napkin and drew a line and said, ‘Where’s your all-is-lost moment?’ I said, when they have the biggest fight. He said, ‘That’s not the all-is-lost moment, it’s just another big fight. So, you’ve got to take them back to where you began,'” Irani said. “And that was the application that I needed.”

The actor returned to Mumbai and asked the writer to write the film with him. “He had no writing credits to his name, except for one film, which he said ‘I’ve just written, but it’s an arthouse film, which will come and go, don’t worry about it. These are his words. ‘But I love your story.’ And he cried, because it resonated with him and his father,” Irani said.

The project had a producer on board who was loath to take the writer on board because of his lack of credits. Irani said that he dropped the producer and stuck with the writer. “The film, which was supposed to come and go, won an Oscar. And I said, ‘He’s gone. I’ve lost my friend. That’s it,'” Irani said.

The writer was Alexander Dinelaris, who won the original screenplay Oscar for “Birdman” alongside Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone and Armando Bo. Irani went back to New York and met Dinelaris and they developed the script of “The Mehta Boys” five pages at a time for the next eight years.

Irani has just completed the edit on the film, which stars himself, Avinash Tiwary and Shreya Chaudhry. It will release theatrically after a festival run.

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