‘IRFANATAM’ was the email ID of Marhoom Irrfan Khan
By Saleem Shah
Irfanatam was the email ID of Marhoom Irrfan Khan. When he first shared it with me I thought that perhaps there is some spelling error and inquired accordingly, but he reconfirmed that it was indeed that; Irfanatam! Those were pre facebook days when having an email account was kind of up market. And since he was working in the west it must have been a necessity.
It was also a time when everyone (and I am deliberately not using the word wannabe) had or tried to have a ‘glamorous’ email ID name.
And here was an actor rising to fame, achieving universal appreciation through Hollywood and simultaneously also trying to move into the higher echelons of Bollywood; and keeping this kind of a ‘strange’ name as his ID?
On a lighter note I even contemplated that this could be because he must be doing some cinema in the south; which he was not. I think it this choice of his, that describes him vividly.
A caring human with careful careless appearance, and a ‘I am not really bothered of what you think of me’ attitude! A man who chose to live life on his own terms! What set him apart from the rest cannot be described in words.
My first meeting with him happened at Govind Nihalini’s house to read out the script of a TV film “Drishti” (remember unlike now there were no ‘Auditions’ at that time). At first go, he seemed someone straight out of a Brechtian play.
Reeking of NSDism (my apologies to the ‘purists’), and trying to go all out in understanding everything ‘too deep’. Unfortunately I could not be a part of that project but we kept on interacting here and there.
Not many will remember that he also starred in the earlier episodes of the nineties TV series “Just Mohabbat”,made by the lovely husband-wife duo of Tony Singh & Deeya Singh and lyrically written by Victor (Yes,Vijay Krishna Acharya).
Our usual location for “Just Mohabbat” used to be a bungalow in Juhu called ‘Sunpitt’ which had a beautiful open view of the sea. This was the time when I got to know a little more about ‘Irfan Bhai’, as I always lovingly called him (and he always used to call me ‘Salim Saab’, though being a senior he could have called me Salim).
There was so much warmth in his utterance of ‘Salim Saab’, that it still echoes in my ears. As he climbed the ladder of success, his humble nature, and down to earth demeanor remained totally unaffected. I think not many; or may I say none had the charisma of this ‘Sweet Prince’ (a synonym that Vijay Krishna Acharya used in his loving adieu post) Much has been written about his truly amazing and breathtaking work. One of them is a lovely tribute written by Naseer Sahab. I am quoting a piece from it, “I feel absolutely no embarrassment, in confessing that I greatly envied his acting chops. And after witnessing something he had done often wished I could turn back the clock, and go over some of my old performances with the benefit of the hindsight and the understanding of acting that was his gift to all us lesser actors. Watching him, I could not hold back an untrammeled admiration, that at his age he seemed to have fully grasped the technique of acting, yet stayed hungry to learn more. This admiration of course, would turn to wonder at the way he kept his work process so totally invisible, that it was impossible to understand exactly how he did, what he did.”
As a student of acting if I dare to delve into the unanswered questions in the above mentioned memoir. And I seek apologies beforehand from the learned, as my knowledge might be limited.
Having worked with him and then seeing his later remarkable work, the most striking thing was; he used to make his characters exceptionally interesting for the audiences. But then how did he do that ??
I feel it was his different way of looking at those ‘people’ that he portrayed. He did not go by the usual ‘Interpretation’ of the character, of a dialogue, a gesture, a movement, a look; NO! but gave himself options.
This was capped by brilliant and rare yet not so rare nuances. Let this person whom I am playing be so much engaging to the audiences that they cannot take their eyes off him.
He was a ‘Madari’ in the truest form of the word! My everlasting love, respect and homage to Irfan Bhai! RIP
You did not just live your life; You RULED it! My heartfelt condolences to Sutapa Sikdar and his two sons! May God bless you all always!
And also, please remember that he is not gone; Like his favorite ‘Raat Ki Rani’, the fragrance of his persona will remain forever!
--IANS sms\rm (This story has not been edited by BDC staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed from IANS.) Writers are welcome to submit their articles for publication. Please contact us through Contact Us in the Menue