Trying to understand Irrfan Khan’s roots and how he started playing theater, we spoke to one of his early mentors, Ravi Chaturvedi, whose Srijan Theater Troupe in Rajasthan was one of the first. game windows for the deceased actor.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Irrfan Khan started out as a backstage aide
Ravi Chaturvedi remembers Irrfan Khan as a normal student who had no acting training but had acting dreams that would light his eyes. He said: “Irrfan had no training as an actress. He hadn’t even watched too many movies or plays. Irrfan came to me as a normal student. For a while he had only worked behind the scenes. He was very curious from the start. Once there was room in a room, so I asked him to play that role. He was very committed and quite convincing, even though it was one of his first performances. He participated in all my plays from 1981 to 1984. He wanted to do more for the theater group. He must have been a part of only 3-4 games back then, but he would give his whole heart to anything he did. He would research and add to the play, even helping other actors. He was working on the characters a lot at that time, and I remember how he did a full “ janam patri ” of the characters. He wrote down details of how the character would be on and off stage.
Recalling Irrfan’s first stage performance, Chaturvedi shared, “I first saw him perform in one of my friend’s plays called Mahabhoj. He was playing the role of a guard. He must have been standing for a long time and had no dialogue, but even in that he was so convincing.
He added, “Then I threw it into the plays Uddhwasta Dharmashala (A Man in Dark Times) by GP Deshpande and Raajrakto (Guinea Pig) by Mohit Chatterjee, a play inspired by the Naxalite movement. For that, we used to rehearse according to the schedule, but it led me to rehearse in two shifts. He wanted to do more so that he could do his best. So I would rehearse with the full cast, then he would do extra workout for two hours. There are times when you have to inject acting into an actor, but Irrfan was different. He was a very demanding actor. It was a natural.
When Irrfan Khan almost gave up on his acting dream
Just as Irrfan Khan joined NSD, his father passed away, leaving the responsibility of the family business on the actor’s shoulder. On making sure Irrfan stays at the NSD and doesn’t take over his father’s tire store, Ravi Chaturvedi said: “Unfortunately, when he joined the NSD, his father passed away. He was very confused and worried about having to give up NSD to run his father’s tire repair shop. So I convinced his younger brother to take over the store and give Irrfan some time.
Chaturvedi also revealed that Irrfan was too ambitious a student, but he knew what he was asking for. He shared, “After a year at NSD, I thought he had gotten a little too ambitious. He would criticize the teachers there. He was right in a way because the teachers there didn’t have answers to his questions. But I told him that there was a library and a workshop at NSD, and that it was time for him to lean rather than question his teachers. And he’s done a lot of work that way. He was a good student.
Irrfan Khan was not a quiet student
Irrfan was like any other student, full of “masti” but also very caring. Ravi Chaturvedi said: “Irrfan seemed like a gentle student when he joined our group, but then we realized he was quite straightforward and ‘mastikhor’. I would scold him a bit. He was very daring. Our theater group was in the interiors of Rajasthan, and these places are infested with lizards. Many of the girls in the group are said to be afraid of these lizards. Once Irrfan showed up with an air gun to kill the lizards, and when that plan failed, he killed all the lizards with his chappals. Bohut masti karta tha Irrfan ‘. “
He added: “Irrfan was a very ordinary student, but at the same time there was also something extraordinary about him. He never got involved in politics or student controversies. It was his own person. He was a very lively and jovial boy. He was never a boring student. He would be introverted, but never boring.
Witness to Irrfan Khan’s success
Ravi Chaturvedi concluded by saying that he had seen the ups and downs of Irrfan Khan, and while he didn’t like the fact that the actor struggled so much, he relished his success. Chaturvedi said: “I was quite upset that Irrfan had to struggle so much before he could become an established player in the film industry. He must have made quite a few commercial films before doing what he really loved. I guess it was important for him to make these films to keep himself going. So when I started to see him do all the international projects, I felt proud of him. If I was traveling to another country, and if his film was shown, I would go watch it. I remember watching his films like Jurassic World in London, some films in China, and his films with Mira Nair and Amazing Spiderman in the United States.
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