Manoj Bajpayee on Irrfan Khan: We followed each other's journey

Updated: 30 April, 2020 08:07 IST | Shaheen Parkar, Upala KBR, Sonia Lulla | Mumbai

We faced both rejection and acceptance from the audience and the industry.

Manoj Bajpayee
Manoj Bajpayee

Though Irrfan and I did not share screen space, we featured together in two films, Akash Deep's Ghaath (2000), and Suparn Verma's Acid Factory (2009).

In the second, we were together in only one fleeting scene. We knew each other because our roots [lay in] theatre. I knew him from the time we began our careers, and we followed each other's journey in films. I looked at him with tremendous regard. We went through the same [experiences] at the same time: We struggled together, and as outsiders, fought for the same thing: to earn our place in different types of films.

We faced both rejection and acceptance from the audience, and the industry.

It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that Irrfan is no more. His contribution to the industry and the world of acting will live on. He still had a lot more [to offer], so his passing away is difficult for a colleague and contemporary [to come to terms with].

As told to Shaheen Parkar


Priyadarshan: He wanted to do a comedy when he came back


Irrfan was a dear friend. We worked together in Billoo, and often spent the evenings together. He would talk about his struggles and [being apprehensive about] carving his place as an actor, in movies, because of his looks. He'd say he was advised to stick to theatre because he didn't have the qualities of a hero, but [would remind himself] that 'somebody needs [to see] somebody like me [as a hero]'.

He had told people that if he came back [following his treatment in London], they should keep scripts [ready] for him. But when he returned, he told me he [was easily] tired, and couldn't work for more than five hours. I spoke to him four months ago, and he said that though the treatment had made him weak, he [had been] cured. He wanted to do a comedy and told me to call him with a script.

As told to Upala KBR

Mithila Palkar: He taught me to focus on nuances


My fondest memory of Irrfan sir was him referring to me as Binaca Geetmala, because I'd always sing on the sets of Karwaan. If he liked something that I was humming, he would request [me to sing] it.

I haven't been to acting school. But merely [being in his] presence was like attending one. My lesson from observing him was to focus on the small details in a scene, and understanding nuances. We lost a gem and I don't think this void can be filled.

As told to Sonia Lulla

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First Published: 30 April, 2020 07:13 IST

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