Unforgettable Irrfan Khan 2016 Interview:

“I don’t want my audience to come to theatres to see me. I want them to see my craft. The day they come to see me and not my film, that day will be my death.” Irrfan’s words come ringing in my head as I remember the last time I interacted with him for an interview where he was promoting his then-upcoming movie Madaari. He looked stylish, was wearing a pair of rugged blue denim, a white shirt and a pink blazer. Irrfan loved to look good. He appeared jolly. His curly hair was partly hidden under the Panama-styled hat and he wore black shades.Also Read - Obituary: Irrfan Khan, The Man of Brilliant Cinema And Beautiful Heart Will be Missed

Irrfan was smiling. For the next half an hour, he didn’t let that smile leave his face. He laughed occasionally. He told my colleague who was handling the camera and banners to relax and take time to do the setting. I wondered if he was always so calm and full of zeal or was it just because he had to leave a good impression in front of the media. In the next few minutes, I found out that he was unlike any other actor. Always at ease, lively, never shying away from a hearty laugh and making sure everyone around him was having a good time, at least for those few minutes. Also Read - When Irrfan Khan Had Said We Don't Know The Meaning of Qurbani

Irrfan began the interview and asked me if I was prepared or needed some time to brush up my questions. Already awestruck to see his zest for life and just how non-hero-kind-hero he was, I told him I couldn’t wait to shoot my questions. I asked him about the movie and his resume of work and then when I was about to ask him the last question, he interrupted. He looked straight into the camera, then moved to my other colleague, who was there from the marketing team and asked her if she was feeling okay. We were taken aback. I realised later that she was actually unwell that day and Irrfan just happened to figured that out with one gaze at her. We moved to shoot our interview again and Irrfan showed another beautiful side of his personality. He once again tried to make the mood lighter and asked if his ripped denim were visible in the frame. He said, “Vineeta, do you think my bare knees that are visible in the front camera from this ripped denim would actually take the attention away from my face?” We all laughed. He too. And the interview that I thought would appear strict and very formal turned into a light-hearted conversation about life, struggle, career and film choices. Also Read - RIP Irrfan Khan! A Timeline on Bollywood Gem's Battle With Neuroendocrine Tumour Since March 2018

Irrfan Khan, A Real-Life Hero

Irrfan was the kind of hero I was never introduced to before. I believe even the rest of my teammates who were present in the interview that day would be feeling the same. Then I asked him the question and he understood it, he took a pause. He asked me to repeat it. Irrfan said, “Wait, wait, wait… There’s something in that question. Please ask that again.” The question was, “Irrfan, do you want to achieve the level of stardom where people come to see you on screen and not your film?” He again paused for a moment and said, “I don’t want that day to arrive ever. I don’t want to live to see that day. I want my audience to see my craft, my film first. I don’t want my audience to come to theatres to see me. I want them to see my craft. The day they come to see me and not my film, that day will be my death.”

I am numb today. Irrfan made me feel good about my job. It took him just about 30 minutes to change my perception of actors. That one interview made me learn that it’s okay to relax while you are at your job. It’s okay to laugh in between the interviews. You don’t have to be uptight about life. That laugh, that gaze, those thoughtful answers — everything is staying with me. I wish I could just tell him how that one interview changed so many things for me. It breaks my heart to realise that there will be no press conferences in his name from now on, no invitations will be sent, he will not be waving from the stage or fixing his hair before the interview. He will not be there. His memories will be. Rest in peace, Irrfan!

Note: The interview happened in 2016 with Catch News