Remembering Irrfan’s Thoughts on Acting, 100 Cr Clubs and Journeys
Here are some of Irrfan Khan’s words of wisdom.
Irrfan Khan’s passing last year has left an untimely void that may take forever to erase from our collective memories. Born on 7 January, 1967 in Tonk, Rajasthan, Irrfan would have been 54 today. And though the actor is no longer amongst us, his words of wisdom remain. Here’s a look at some of Irrfan’s thoughts on his life, his craft and relationships.
In an interview with Anupama Chopra, when asked what made him the man he is now, Irrfan spoke about his childhood and how he was a shy kid who needed to escape into a land of fantasy where he could entertain himself.
“My naive mind kept telling me to find my space where you could engage yourself because I am terrified with myself, I have a lot of anger, I have lot of anxiety, I get bored with things very easily and I could never fit into the system, any kind of system,” said the actor. Irrfan revealed that even as a kid, he could not follow any kind of set rules, he seemed to find the calmness in the chaos.
When asked on how as a modern day actor he also juggled the responsibilities of doing commercials, working in TV, doing film promotions and generally carried himself as an all-round “entertainer”, Irrfan said that he didn’t associate any other of his talents with art.
“Art only comes when you make things personal, when you start reflecting on those things, life around you, whatever you are absorbing as a human being and then you are communicating that observation, your own point of view about society about human beings through those stories. If that is not happening, art is not happening. An artist only happens when you start reflecting, when you start personalising things,” explained Irrfan, telling his audience about his relationship with his craft.
Irrfan for one never spoke about his box-office numbers even though he was an important part of multi-billion grossers such as Jurassic World. The actor did not believe that an actor’s worth could be measured by his box-office numbers.
“Talking money is not cool for me. I don’t have a benchmark ki meri film ne itna kiya toh main itne figure ka actor hogaya, that’s too boring for me. What a scale to judge yourself man?! You are taking away all the mystery of storytelling. It’s not a product ki itne ka sell hogaya toh itne ka aap worth ho. It’s an experience. Sometimes some stories are not made to make that kind of money,” is what Irrfan said. He strongly believed the art of storytelling should be kept separate from the commerce of showbiz.
When asked how an aspiring actor could discover himself and what sets himself apart from the rest, these were Irrfan’s words of wisdom.
“One must interact with oneself and see one’s potential and see what is unique about oneself and evolve as an actor, I think. Falling into formula is something which can reduce one’s possibilities and one’s uniqueness.” This is undoubtedly a lesson that Irrfan learnt from his own days as a struggling actor. The Maqbool actor said that he would often imitate established actors like Mithun Chakraborty in his early days hoping to be “accepted” by the industry.
Talking about the art of acting, Irrfan said that he would be miserable if he had chosen to act just for the money it brings home.
“I am fortunate that I chose this job. Initially I chose it for fame and money, but as I entered into drama school and understood the potential of it, the most important thing to become an actor was to explore yourself and to observe yourself and to reflect on yourself and your surroundings and your society. That is something that I am really fortunate that I could do through my job,” is what Irrfan said.
While talking to Rajeev Masand about his romantic image in films like Piku and Qarib Qarib Singlle, Irrfan spoke about how both the films involved him romancing his co-actor during a journey. He felt that taking a journey with someone is a good way to know the person better.
“I feel that if you really want to know a person go with him or her on a journey and then you know what he’s all about, sometimes people could have a mask and you may not be able to know. But if you are travelling with somebody there’s so many things which comes out and you see their real nature.” Irrfan Khan romanced Deepika Padukone in Piku as they took a car ride together from Delhi to Kolkata and again Qarrib Qarrib Singlle Irrfan’s love track with Parvathy evolved as they take a trip from Mumbai to Dehradun to Jaipur and finally to Gangtok.
For several years before he got a break in films with Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Haasil, Irrfan Khan did television. He was a part of several TV shows including Chandrakanta. When asked how he kept his passion for acting alive and did not end up becoming frustrated working in assembly line TV projects which did not challenge him as an actor, here’s what Irrfan said.
“Only thing that kept me going during my TV days was that I was never satisfied with my own performance and I kept working on it and when I came to films from drama school, I never liked myself. I never thought that I am there, I am not experiencing the moment, nothing is happening to me, I am manipulating things, so that quest kept me going.” Thank you for the quest and thank you for the movies Irrfan.
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