When Irrfan Khan spoke about the two actors who gave direction to his career

It might seem unlikely to many, but Irrfan Khan actually thought at one point that his face resembled Mithun Chakraborty's. The latter has been primarily associated with 'masala' movies Irrfan had consciously stayed away from.

It has been a year since we lost the supremely talented and versatile actor Irrfan Khan. And while the celluloid and his fans will always miss him, the artiste continues to inspire a great deal of love and respect even today with his performances and journey. In a video of over four years ago, Irrfan Khan and Naseeruddin Shah are seen interacting and sharing ideas, thoughts about cinema and the entertainment industry in general. The duo were speaking at an India Today conclave.

Both Irrfan and Naseeruddin couldn’t help showering praises at each other. Irrfan shared that it was actors like Naseeruddin and Dilip Kumar that had stirred his passion for the performing arts.

“I was looking for something that could give me a direction. His (Naseer’s) performances, Dilip Saheb’s performance gave me the direction that life is a subject, that it is possible to get work by reflecting life. When I came to Mumbai, parallel cinema was taking its last breath, and then it was all (about the) frontbenchers… Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty’s ‘daur’ started,” said Irrfan. Irrfan and Naseeruddin had shared screen space in the Vishal Bhardwaj movie Maqbool.

Meanwhile, Naseeruddin Shah had remembered Irrfan in a touching article he had written for The Indian Express. Likening Irrfan to Mozart, Naseeruddin had penned, “When I used to watch him act, I used to think of Mozart and (Antonio) Salieri. Salieri used to tell God ‘Why am I the patron saint of mediocrity? Is this fellow’s random scribbling superior to my hours and hours of labour in composing music?’ I must say that when I watched Irrfan, that’s how I used to feel. I wished that when I was his age, I had been that good. I really admired him in an unqualified manner. I don’t think there is another actor I admired as much as I admired Irrfan.”

The late star also spoke briefly about his stint on television during the India Today conclave, and how he felt that ‘his time’ would never come; “I came here to do cinema, but I was consumed by television and tv was boring. I used to hear things like Subhash Ghai is talking about me — ‘Ye ladka kaun hai?’ (who is this guy?), and I used to wait thinking a call would come but it never happened.”

And it might seem unlikely to many, but Irrfan actually thought at one point that his face resembled Mithun Chakraborty’s. The latter has been primarily associated with ‘masala’ movies Irrfan had consciously stayed away from.

“‘I used to wonder mera face kisi se milta hai kya, arey ha Mithun se milta hai to ban jaunga main actor (I used to wonder whether my face resembled anyone, and I thought that it looked similar to Mithun’s so that propelled my thought further of becoming an actor). I also used to imitate Mrigayaa’s dialogue. In Mrigayaa, Mithun was not playing a chocolate boy, he was a Naxalite…I used to make my hair straight in order to look like him,” stated Irrfan as he laughed recounting this little anecdote.

To think that someone of Irrfan’s talent had self-doubt about his capabilities as a professional like the rest of us is an inspiring and humbling reminder of what a human being can achieve. Irrfan Khan breathed his last in Mumbai on April 29, 2020. The actor was last seen in the Homi Adajania directorial Angrezi Medium.

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