Deepak Dobriyal & Radhika Madan On Why Irrfan Is an Inspiration

The Angrezi Medium actors share their experiences of working with Irrfan Khan.

Published02 Mar 2020, 02:30 PM IST
5 min read

Deepak Dobriyal and Irrfan Khan’s pair in Angrezi Medium has been the talk of social media ever since the trailer released. The Quint caught up with Deepak and Radhika Madan, wherein the latter recounted how the duo would crack everyone up on the sets and how Irrfan is an inspiration.

You guys are from Hindi Medium or English Medium?

Deepak: I am from Hindi Medium.

Radhika: I am from English Medium.

The kids of Hindi Medium are always anti-English Medium. I mean, there’s always a ‘tug-of-war’ between the two. Do you recall any personal experience as such?

Deepak: Yes, I do. During my childhood, when I used to play football, our school team became the zonal champion twice. But then, some of these huge and well-built boys from Madaan International and Apeejay came, and they used to be like, “Hey, guys!” and so on. We would all fall silent then. So we used to take our revenge in the game like, “Show it to the guys!” They would go, “Oh my God!” but we always gave them a hard competition. We could never confront them because these boys were really good presenters. But we never used to agree. We would be like, “We’ll show you in the match now.” So, this used to happen.

So, when you are acting, which actor is the most difficult to deal with? Like, some actors only talk in English and it gets very difficult sometimes. Has it ever happened with you when someone tried to show off their English on set?

Deepak: Everyone. There are many.

Tell us the names.

Deepak: I can’t tell you the names. I mean, who knows? What if they become very big producers or directors later? It somewhere remains in the back of the mind that this person had said something about me. The grudge always remains. No no no, there are. I can even tell you all the stories directly, but...I mean, I will tell you later outside, but not on camera.

Has she (Radhika) ever done anything like that?

Deepak: No, no. She is a very dedicated girl. Right from the first day, she would sit with the script, and I used to be like, “Who is this?” I mean, she was very dedicated with performing her character as the ‘daughter’. That’s very good.

How was it working with Irrfan for you, because you played the role of his daughter in the movie? How was the chemistry on set? How did you guys deal with it?

Radhika: I think it even depends on him. I remember, when I had met him on the first day, he had come to the office for a reading. I mean, I was meeting him for the first time, and I didn’t greet him saying ‘Hi, Sir.’ Instead I said, “Hi. Papa”. He just smiled at me and said, “Oh, so it’s you.” He just hugged me, and that’s exactly where our chemistry began. So, for me, he wasn’t ‘The Irrfan Khan’, the international star, but he was my father whose beard I could scratch, hair I could make and literally do anything with him. He was the one who created such a comfort level for me. He never treated us like, “Okay, fine. I’ll be there”. He would be there as many times as we needed to go over the lines. He made us feel the warmth, it was a lot of fun. But the chemistry, it started from the very beginning.

And, he’s also very funny.

Radhika: Oh, he’s so funny. If you see Irrfan and him together, you’d fall on the floor laughing. There’s this scene, where there’s Kiku Sharda, Irrfan sir and him, apparently. You’ll see them together in many scenes of the movie. I wasn’t there in one of the scenes, but I have heard stories that the cameraman was laughing so hard that he fell and people had to stop these three saying, “Stop, the scene is over.”

Deepak: We were having so much fun in that scene that we let it go on and on. I mean, why cut when everybody is having fun? It was so much fun!

After watching the trailer, everybody is saying that apart from the chemistry between the father-daughter, the chemistry between you two is exceptionally good. So tell me, how was it working with Irrfan sir and why everybody went crazy on the sets laughing?

Deepak: See, whenever one has to deliver an exceptionally good performance with a legend or a veteran, the first condition is that you will have to fall in love with them. So, I fall in love with them instantly because there’s no other option. But Irrfan bhai and I used to get along right from the time of Hindi Medium. I mean, Irrfan bhai always told the assistants who were working on the sets of Hindi Medium, “Don’t stop him. Let him do whatever he wants to do.” And so they understood. Some of these improvisations were made where he felt ‘it was hollow and flat’. But he always used to say that “Don’t stop him, he picks the right note.” Because, if one has to stay in the limit and take the liberty of the improvisations and other things as well, one should not touch the storyline, the character has to remain intact. That is how steadily he built trust in me.

Irrfan is not here, and we really miss him. I really miss him. What was it like? He fell sick during the shoot or he came back after his treatment for shooting? What was it like? Did you guys know about his cancer?

Deepak: I came to know about it only after he had tweeted, so it was before the shoot. One could not even tell if he had a cold.  His courage is something to learn from; it’s philosophy, he relies on philosophy. That’s really nice. We know, for the members of the crew, the exhaustion is natural. But, you should look at the involvement in the movie.

Translate these Bollywood dialogues into English. Bade bade desho mein aisi choti choti baate hoti rehti hai

Deepak: In big-big countries, this kind of little things happen.

Maine jo ek bar commitment kar di toh mein apni bhi nahi sunta

Deepak: If I commit myself, if I commit once, and never listen to myself also, Oh, no no!I’m not even making any changes or corrections. In fact, I’m not interfering at all.

Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost

Deepak: Hey, wait. This is the interval.

Palat palat palat

Deepak: No, for me it would be ‘turn’. You tell me, what will it be for you.Halt...

Radhika: Turn...He will say it with a pause. First, he will say halt and then turn.

Deepak: Oh! All three words are the same?Turn, swing, turn. Then he will say it slowly.

Kitne Aadmi the?

Deepak: How many people? How much? No, How many?

Ek chutki sindoor ki keemat tum kya jano Ramesh babu?

Deepak: Fun... Fingertips... What is the value of one fingertip sindoor? You can’t understand Ramesh Babu, huh? What? Isn’t it something like this?Yeah...what is the value of one fingertip, either?

Jab yeh dhai kilo ka haath kisi pe padta hai, toh samne wala uthta nahi uth jata hai

Deepak: When this two and a half kg boxing punch hits somebody, he...he didn’t wake up, he doesn’t wake up, he... Dies? Wake up? No, no, no. We can do something about it. When this two and a half kg punch, hits somebody, he...he doesn’t only faint... What is the word? He dies. He dies, in the hell. Burn in the fire of hell.

Mujhpe ek ehsaan karna ki mujhpe koi ehsaan na karna

Deepak: Please do this favour on me, don’t do any favour. On me. Oh my God! Yeah, Yeah, she told me but let me cheat a little at least!

Camera: Aditi Suryavanshi
Asst Camera: Barna Raha
Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan

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