Irrfan Khan: I’m from a feudal family, there was no question of me becoming an actor
Did Irrfan Khan always want to become an actor? Not really! That realisation came in much later in life, he shares. “I wanted to become a sportsman. There were some limitations and I couldn’t get the support that I needed in my career. You cannot do it on your own. That was the time when I discovered that this (acting) was a very interesting field,” says Irrfan.
Ask him if his family supported his decision to become an actor, and the 50-year-old actor shares, “They never thought I would become an actor. We were not allowed to [do these things]. We were traditional feudal family, so there was no question of me becoming an actor. But sometimes my mother thinks that I should go back to Jaipur and do something with the family. She misses me.”
A father to two sons (Ayaan and Babil), actor Irrfan Khan, however, encourages his kids to follow their dreams and be whatever they want to when they grow up. He is a strong believer of the role of education in a child’s life. His latest film, Hindi Medium — alongside Pakistani actor Saba Qamar — also sheds light on the facilities for underprivileged children in the field of education.
So, it felt like an extension of his philosophy, when he associated with HT Paathshala — an educational initiative to help underprivileged children get the right kind of education. Excerpts, from a chat with the 50-year-old.
Tell us about your association with HT Paathshala
I got to know about this initiative, and it’s nice to see the use of the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) fund. I wish success to this initiative.
As a father yourself, what do you have to say about the education your sons are getting?
I just push them in the direction of things that interest them. I don’t want to put conditions in front of them or expect a particular result. They should be interested in what they are doing. I do keep a check. I know that my kids would not like to by-heart a thing. There are systems where you don’t need to do that, where you don’t learn a lesson and replicate it.
What’s your take on the education system in schools these days? Are you satisfied with it?
There are different systems of education that are operating. Some, where there is no practical knowledge imparted to the children. The education is not according to their age. I don’t think we’ve explored much in this area. The intention of education should be to flourish the personality. A kid should be able to explore his talent and interests, and get introduced to subjects practically. This growing [up] age is a very tricky phase. The education system should have a proper understanding at what age which subject should be introduced.
Your latest film, Hindi Medium, also spreads the message of education for all. What made you sign the project?
This film is special to me. The subject and the way it was narrated convinced me to come on board. I was looking to do a comedy which parents and kids can watch together. It’s a very entertaining film.
You shot the film in Delhi. How was the experience?
I love Delhi. I have been educated there and I am really fond of the city. We were here for one and a half months.
Very few people know that you and your wife Sutapa Sikdar have worked together. Tell us about that experience.
There was this one time when I was doing a series and she was writing it. I had to direct it. It was an amazing experience. We used to have arguments, but it was very productive as well. When you are working as a professional, you argue if you have differences.
You have been part of the Hindi film industry for almost three decades now. Has the way you choose your projects changed over the years?
It hasn’t changed at all. I used to choose projects based on my instinct and that is what I do till now. I haven’t found a hit formula to choose a movie. Something happens to you when you read a script, that’s my criteria.
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