Goodbye, Irrfan. You rare man
Irrfan was a rare man. A rare man, who left us too soon.
“Yes? Interview? Sure. Aap rukiye thodi der. Main inse baat karke aata hoon.” It was late February in 2013. Irrfan, with his Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns team, was walking out of the studio, their TV interviews done. I was a few months old in the media. I waited for Irrfan to wrap up. He was done with interviews and was about to enter the car to leave. At this point, I asked him if he could speak for a while for our website. He made his driver and team wait. I recorded the conversation. Then realised the recording was missing. I nearly broke down. Irrfan knew he had to leave because his team was gesturing at him to hurry up. He told me, “Aap mera phone number le lijiye. Main free hote hi aap se baat karta hoon.”
That one conversation left me indebted to him forever.
The interview did happen later that evening. Irrfan did keep his promise. He called, we spoke, and the interview was done. That was Irrfan. To the point, warm, never the one to let his stardom come before his profession. We kept in touch. Over the next years, I met him several times. We sat down and chatted. Every single time, this person’s brains, his clarity of thought, would make me look for words. I had been smitten by Irrfan’s craft since I saw Salaam Bombay. The more I spoke to this man, the more I realised how much he loved acting. And oh, those eyes.