Mira Nair on Irrfan Khan: Wanted him to play Nawab of Baitar
Mira Nair recounts how she missed last chance of working with Irrfan Khan on A Suitable Boy.
In one of the most beautiful scenes of Mira Nair's The Namesake (2006), Irrfan's Ashoke Ganguli stands by the sea and tells son Gogol, "You and I made this journey to a place from where there was nowhere left to go." Even six months after the actor's demise, his fans around the globe have yet to come to terms with his loss. With Nair's A Suitable Boy dropping on Netflix India last week, it was hard not to look for him throughout the six-part series.
It is known that Irrfan was to be part of the screen adaptation of Vikram Seth's novel of the same name, but eventually dropped out due to his ill-health. Nair, who had also worked with the late actor in Salaam Bombay (1988) and New York, I Love You (2008), says, "I had reached out to him. Frankly, he could have had any part he wanted! But I wanted him to play the Nawab of Baitar. I even tapered the role so it wouldn't be too hectic for Irrfan, but it was not to be." The role was eventually essayed by Aamir Bashir (inset).
Nair admits it was disappointing to not have one of her trusted collaborators in her passion project. "The disappointment was about not working with him again. The enormous sadness for all of us is that Irrfan, who was such a light, such a fire, was gone."
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