“Ik baar to yun hoga, thoda sa sukoon hoga, na dil mein kasak hogi na, sar mein junoon hoga (For a moment there will be peace, heart won’t linger for anything, and mind won’t be frenzy).
Irrfan Khan or rather only Irrfan which he always insisted to be called has finally found eternal peace on April 29, 2020. Probably Irrfan is at the best place now.
It took me more than a day to write an obituary on Irrfan Khan. Normally it’s within 24 hours I express my heartfelt feelings.
So uncanny, Rishiji and Irrfan both got admitted to hospital, both went abroad for cancer treatment and said final adieu within 24 hours. My obituary/remembrance /tribute on Rishiji got ready just before the time of his last rites but the piece on Irrfan took a day.
Honestly, reality takes time to settle in. It’s hard to accept reality. The loss of Irrfan to me and many others like me is a personal loss.
When the news came to me, I was speechless, words betrayed me. There are actors, stars, superstars, icons, your idols, your god on screen. Irrfan Khan to me was not the god on screen, the superstar I am crazy about on screen; he to me was the ‘human’ on screen which I related to with my life. Any accomplish actor can do this but Irrfan was something special and yet very common.
Some actors speak with their smile; some has won over with their methods, mannerisms, some with their magnetic charm on screen, before bring out their acting smarts.
Irrfan Khan spoke with his eyes, the magnificent Mr. Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Amrish Puri all are gifted with this quality but the a look at Irrfan even in that 10 rupaye wala recharge advertisement becomes special due to those deep honest eyes, they are not probing, they are purely looking at you the way you are. Ala Soumitra Chatterjee in Satyajit Ray’s APU.
Heard of radiant smile, Irrfan Khan had a radiant eye. Those eyes gazed through you as those characters began their journey.
Starting with Ranvijay Singh in HAASIL to MAQBOOL, to Ashoke in THE NAMESAKE, to the police inspector in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, to the barber BILLU, the dacoit in PAAN SINGH TOMAR, to the gangster Indarjeet Singh in SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER RETURNS, Umber Singh in QISSA: THE TALE OF A LONELY GHOST, Saajan Fernandes in THE LUNCHBOX, the adult Pi Patel from LIFE OF PI, Roohdaar in HAIDER, Rana in PIKU, Ashwin Kumar in Talvar and finally Champak Bansal in ANGREZI MEDIUM. I always found myself somewhere in his characters. The actor who may not make me whistle and jump with joy in ecstasy – that’s the job of a star/superstar right?. But certainly an actor whose characters from different walk from life in different times had an influence in my routine in some way or the other.
Irrfan’s eyes where the eyes of a human who saw the world in totality. It’s wide and is not blinded by any fame, faith or prejudice. Irrfan’s vision of the world he desires to live with his near and dear ones is of acceptance and endurance.
In one of his movies LIFE OF PI there is a quote which goes like “Doubt is useful. It keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it has been tested”.
His vision and understanding of life, faith and humanity got questioned from his own community but he never got bogged down. He maintained his believe in humanity and said that religion is to liberate and not to dominate.
Irrfan who mentored Nawazuddin Siddiqui In the 2000 movie ALVIDA directed by him, was actually inspired by our disco king Mithun Chakraborty.
It’s very strange and unbelievable but true. Mithun Chakraborty who bagged the national award as best actor in his debut film MRIGAYAA by Mrinal Sen, later got type casted.
Irrfan has an altogether different story to say and it’s such a personal journey.
So has Irrfan never repeated himself, resorted to mannerisms?. Yes, he is an artiste and an artiste be a writer, actor, painter, singer etc goes through this and develops a signature style. Ha na bhaiya.
But when PAAN SINGH TOMAR says, “ Lootere parliament mein milte hai, bihad mein toh dacait rehtein hai”. And when he questions SRK in a glitz awards night by saying, “hum kya hai wada pav” though it’s fictional scripted for fun but there is a reality which cannot be denied. The exceptional wit in those realisms made him stand out naturally.
It is said that it’s always about the journey and not the destination. Irrfan’s life on and off screen is a journey of a man who got inspired by a famous disco dancer a dance icon like Mithunda to become an actor.
While Mithun kept on repeating his famous moves occasionally on screen and television, Irrfan as Ashoke gave life lessons to his child in THE NAMESAKE, he said, “Do yourself a favor. Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.”
And it has continued till the end in reality in his own life. That’s how amazingly cinema has inspired life in the life of the child from the son of life Irrfan Khan. His family has issued a statement after his death which is full of life. It says, is not a loss, it is a gain. Thanking all the doctors, experts and hospitals who took care of him. With life lessons for their two sons.
Babil : “Learn to surrender to the dance of uncertainty and trust your faith in the universe”.
Ayaan: “Learn to control your mind and to not let it control you.”
A raat ki rani tree, his favourite, will be planted at the place where he was put to rest. After sometime, it will bloom and the fragrance will spread and touch all the souls to his fans, friends etc who are now a family (and that includes me). The loss of Irrfan is a ‘personal’loss. Not just a lost of an actor who had an eye for humanity, a rare quality.
I conclude with the lines form LIFE OF PI, “I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”
After a deep pause for more than a day, I take his moment to say goodbye to the actor who had that rare eye of humanity gazing us with hope on and off screen.
We all know you are watching
Good bye Irrfan, Alvida