Filmmaker Anup Singh, who worked with the late Irrfan Khan on two films – Qissa and The Song of Scorpions – planned to continue making movies with him till they were in their nineties. He had enough scripts ready to go. But Irrfan died in 2020, after a two-year battle with cancer.
As a grieving process, Singh has written a book about his bond with the actor. Titled Irrfan: Dialogues with the Wind, the book will be released on February 14. In an excerpt published on Scroll.in, Singh wrote about paying Irrfan a visit to hospital, and observed how the actor was facing the inevitable with strength and fortitude.
He recalled how Irrfan was smiling moments before asking Singh to ring for the nurse. He needed a shot of morphine to dull the pain, and could not move his body. Singh remembered turning away from the actor’s ‘stick-thin arm’. They discussed future films, including one on the life and times of Bulle Shah, and another about a celebrated Bollywood composer’s rivalry with a younger counterpart. Singh also wanted Irrfan to play Mahabharat’s Duryodhana for him, in a film about Duryodhana’s last days.
“In a month or so, I’m going to London again. For some more tests, ”Singh remembered Irrfan saying. He seemed to have accepted what lay ahead for him, and said, “I do think, you know: where will I die? Here? In London? And, other than pain, who’ll be there? Will I pass while asleep? Pass? What a strange word. Pass to where? ” Later, he added, “Lying here, I try to look at my thoughts as they come and go. I do not feel I’m dying. The pain’s always there. There’s resentment. Anger. Doctor, nurse, medicine, trips to the toilet. But I do not feel I’m dying. “
The actor admitted that sometimes, he’s scared. “Not always, but sometimes. Angry also. Bitter. Furious. Sad. Sadness is the worst. What could be. What could have been… ”
One of the most celebrated actors of his generation, Irrfan died in April 2020. He is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and their two sons, Babil and Ayaan.
“Typical alcohol specialist. Music evangelist. Total travel scholar. Internet buff. Passionate entrepreneur.”