Ashutosh Gowariker recalls seeing an ‘unknown actor’ Irrfan Khan during Discovery of India’s shoot : ‘Have been fan ever since’
Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker recalled the days when he was a part of the shoot of Shyam Benegal’s Bharat Ek Khoj (Discovery of India), based on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s book. He spoke evocatively of watching an ‘unknown actor’, who was later identified as Irrfan Khan.
He wrote on Twitter: “As an actor, I was a part of #DISCOVERYOFINDIA in 1988 by #ShyamBenegal babu! (man bowing deeply emoji) . One day, I witnessed a scene between #Akbar & his historian BADAYUNI, played brilliantly, by an unknown actor. On asking the asst., I was told – his name is #IrrfanKhan ! Been his #FAN ever since!”
Irrfan played historian Badayuni in one episode, and played a young but intellectually erudite and conscientious man in another.
Bharat Ek Khoj aired on Doordarshan and starred many prominent actors. On April 29 after Irrfan’s death, Ashutosh had tweeted: “Too saddened to hear about the passing away of one of the most charismatic actors- #IrrfanKhan! Your acting style was characteristically your own. And hence, immensely admirable and inspiring! I will surely miss your brilliance!! Prayers and Condolences to the family.”
Anurag Basu, who directed him in Life in a Metro, had told PTI, “I was hoping he would pull it off. I was hopeful because I had pulled through it. He was responding well to the treatment so we thought... This is very unfortunate. I couldn’t meet him. I am feeling very very bad for it as I will never get to see him. But I did meet Sutapa (Irrfan’s wife) while the treatment was going on. It was a long, long fight. He fought this battle alone away from everyone.”
Lyricist Prasoon Joshi had told IANS, “I was in constant touch with Irrfan. I talked to him a lot during this crisis of what he was going through. It was remarkable to see (him fight the illness). His treatment was really painful. He had a rare kind of disease. Despite the painful treatment, he was trying to keep up with his commitments and he fought till the last breath. It is very inspiring.”
(With PTI and IANS inputs)
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