The whole country mourned the demise of actor Irrfan Khan in 2020, after his long battle with cancer. We did not only lose one of the finest actors in the film industry, but also a gem of a person. Irrfan had always stood with what he believed was right and never shied from speaking his mind. Some of his words will stay with us forever.
Here are 8 moments of late actor Irrfan Khan that has made us realize that we can never have someone like him.
1. When he spoke frankly about sex which no one in the Indian industry does.
In an old interview with GQ, Irrfan spoke candidly about sex unlike most celebs. He said that he used to daydream about sex when he was 7 or 8 years old and was always thinking about it. But with maturity and self-practicality, he discovered that sex was meaningless unless some communication is established between the people involved. Moreover, he even went up to his mother and asked her if she enjoyed sex with his father. But, as any Indian mom would do, she didn’t take the conversation further.
Unless some kind of union happens, some kind of communication, sex has no meaning.
2. When he opened up about mental health.
Irrfan Khan played the role of Sunil, a Bengali widower in his mid-50s, in the drama series In Treatment in 2008. In one of the interviews about the role with The New York Times, he opened up about how India is still in the process of accepting therapy as a health treatment. He even revealed the time he went for therapy, a subject most people find uncomfortable talking about.
In India therapy is not part of the culture; it has not become such a big need. I was going through a crisis once, so I went to therapy because I was so unbearable for myself. I just went inside the room and said, “Help me.” And then she started talking to me and gave me medicine. That was the first and last time I went.
3. When he made us wonder about the depth of human existence.
In one of his last interviews while promotions were going on for his film Angrezi Medium, Irrfan, rather than talking about his then upcoming movie, chose to give us all a self-check. The late actor talked about the importance of being kind to people. And his words have stayed with us, because in this hyper-competitive world where we all struggle in a rat race, kindness is like the boat that can get us all through the river of anxiety.
We are not kind to people, to nature and it’s the reason why we are going the way we are. Nature is revolting. Kindness just makes life more bearable, as more happy people will make a happy world.
4. When he told us all ‘age is just a number’.
Irrfan didn’t believe in just the materialistic aspects of acting, but the value the trade adds to the society, which he learnt as he entered drama schools. He even said that it’s not the age that has to do with wisdom, but a person’s state of mind and exposure that makes you grow, its the attitude and tendency to grasp wisdom that matters.
I don’t understand what is the obessession of counting years. Age has nothing to do with wisdom. It’s just what kind of life you are leading.
5. When he technically said, “what’s in a name?”
When Irrfan Khan was asked if was he comfortable in being an actor and not a star per se, he said that he didn’t believe in the categories and tags media thrusts on actors. He just believed in making a difference, regardless of his name, designation or status.
It’s the compulsion for the media to give certain tags to actors. Sometimes, they just create a vocabulary and hashtags for people. It doesn’t matter to me. Even if people don’t call me by my own name, I am okay with it. I’m not even attached to my own name.
6. When he questioned religious practices.
Irrfan once spoke about the slaughtering of animals that goes on during Muharram, and said that instead of fasting on Ramzan people should ‘self-introspect’. His statement received a lot of flak as Muslim clerics slammed him for the same, and asked him to “concentrate only on acting.”
Rather than fasting during Ramzan, people should self-introspect. Animals are being slaughtered on the name of qurbaani during Muharram. We, Muslims, have made a mockery of Muharram. It is meant for mourning and what we do? Take out (tajiya) processions.
7. When he urged people to idolize real life heroes instead of film and cricket stars.
Irrfan believed that people should idolize people who are working selflessly for the betterment of others and devoting their life to noble causes, instead of glamourizing on-screen stars. He added that while the stars should be valued for what they are doing, deifying them shouldn’t happen.
The society shouldn’t aspire to become like them and follow a shortcut route, but idolize real heroes who affect people’s lives.
8. When he said that instead of planning one should believe in living life as it comes.
There have been many moments where Irrfan has given us life lessons. Once, he said that life is so unpredictable that instead of believing in capturing moments and depend upon technology, one should ‘connect with life’ and live it IRL.
Life is so transitory, to keep your photo or to freeze something or to depend on that, I find it very limiting. I would rather connect with life itself and be okay with it.
We can never have Irrfan back, but his voice and words will always have a special place in our hearts.