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Irfan Zaini is looking forward to working on film projects in India

LAST year, actor, model and TV host Irfan Zaini, who is well known among the Malaysian Tamil speaking audience, had big plans to penetrate the Kollywood cinema scene in Chennai, India.

“I want to be a versatile actor,” said 26-year-old Irfan, adding that gaining experience in Kollywood would help him grow as an actor.

“I fully understand that the competition is going to be far more intense in Kollywood.

“There are many newcomers who are constantly knocking on the doors of Kollywood. But if you do not take risks and if you are scared of competition, you will not grow.

“Any dream is possible if you put your heart and soul into it. I believe when you want something passionately, the whole universe unites in helping you to achieve it.”

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented him from making this ambition a reality. With travel restrictions in place, some of his Kollywood projects were put on hold. But he has not given up on his dream.

With the Covid-19 vaccination programme ongoing, Irfan hopes to be able to work on his Kollywood ambition by year-end.

A childhood dream

Interestingly, his first acting job was in a Kollywood film, at age 12, when he was cast in a film called Kurvi, also starring popular actors Vijay and Trisha in the leading roles.

As the production team was shooting some scenes in Malaysia, Irfan visited the set with his father to catch a glimpse of his favourite actor Vijay and to hopefully get his autograph. However, he ended up with more than an autograph!

The production team was impressed with his good looks and signed him on for a smal role in the film. Irfan said the moment he watched himself on the big screen, he had his heart set on being an actor.

But his father, who runs a food and beverage business and his mother, a housewife, wanted him to focus on his studies first. Irfan said he took his parents’ advice and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Marketing.

Irfan said before his introduction to Kollywood as a youngster, he aspired to be a pilot.

However, he said his parents were not keen on the idea.

“They felt that a job that requires me to travel would mean that they would see less of me. They were also afraid that it might be dangerous.”

After graduation, Irfan, who is the eldest among four children, ventured into the world of entertainment as an actor, model and television host. To date, he has acted in five television series and five movies.

“When I started out in my career, I was very unsure of myself. Being excited, I accepted every project that came my way. But now, I am learning to be selective. I want to be in projects where I can enhance my skills as an entertainer.

“I want to be in roles that matter and make a difference to the storyline. I don’t necessarily have to be the lead. I am willing to be in just one scene in the movie, as long as the scene is a powerful one.”

Upcoming projects

Irfan has just completed shooting 22 episodes of a sci-fi action thriller television series under the direction of award-winning director Shalini Balasundaram. The show will be aired sometime in April.

“I cannot reveal much about my role Rakesh in the show. All I can say is, he is very unpredictable. One minute he is quiet and the next, he will go berserk.”

Last October, he started his own cosmetic line called IZ Cosmetic. For the time being, he is focusing on hair oil that helps with hair loss.

“There are no chemicals in my product. It is totally ayurvedic. I have also just created a hair mask and a shampoo as well.”

Irfan is also into script writing, and has written two short films. One of it, Aarthiram, has completed shooting.

“This short film has some musical elements.”

The cameras will soon roll for his second short film.

“At the moment, I cannot reveal the theme of my short film,” he said.