Subhash K Jha talks to the astonishing actor Irrfan Khan.
Irrfan Khan makes a comeback to films with Angrezi Medium after a year-long illness break. And we are glad to have Irrfan back, facing the camera and giving yet another fascinating performance.
Excerpts from the interview:
Irrfan, the audience will get to see you in the film that you shot after your illness…what are your thoughts on this?
I’m happy to be back to tell another story. Stories well-told have always been my weakness. Homi Adajania is an unusual storyteller. I am happy I am reconnecting with my audience with this story. He is quirky and has an unusual sense of rhythm. Cinematographer Anil Mehta’s gaze adds up.
What was it like shooting for Angrezi Medium? Was it any different from the way you shot your films earlier?
It was an extraordinary time for me. I have shot in Rajasthan before. But essentially it was the landscape earlier. But in this film, it was more of the people’s heartbeat. The locations were unusual. In Asif Kapadia’s Warrior I had shot in extreme weathers but in the same country (Rajashthan in India). In Angrezi Medium it was a different continent.
Irrfan, the past two years have been traumatic for you and your family. What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?
The past two years have been dramatic, I would say rather than traumatic. I had bigger challenges than I have ever faced. But I realized bigger the challenges, life exposes you to the limitlessness of your capacity to endure them. You just need to learn to hear yourself, your body and your mind.
You spent nearly a year away from home getting your medical procedure done. During this trying period, what kept you going? What gave you the impetus to just keep pushing on through the dark tunnel?
It(the illness) was overwhelming with its suddenness. But then you form a rhythm and delete things irrelevant to you. The definition of necessary changes, evolves.
Irrfan, you were always a compassionate human being. How has your unwellness changed your attitude towards family, friends and colleagues?
I don’t know about others, you need to ask them that, but it has changed my attitude towards myself. Most of the time you are not tuned to yourself whether you are well or not, everyone needs healing. We don’t do it because we are not clinically ill.
In Angrezi Medium, you play a simple down-to-earth man who craves for nothing more than his daughter’s education. Did you enjoy the simplicity of your character after all the complex characters you’ve played in recent times?
It’s most difficult to play a simple man in today’s time especially if you stay in a city. The humour, the fun, the non-cultivated passion, I don’t think it was easy to perform.
What do we see in next?
I haven’t seen myself in the next as yet.