When Irrfan Khan was abused by director of Chandrakanta, asked ‘you think you are Dharmendra’
Irrfan Khan, who died in Mumbai at the age of 53, played twin brothers Badrinath and Somnath in the Doordarshan show Chandrakanta.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 19:14 IST
Irrfan Khan’s death has left an unfillable void in the film industry, not only in India but internationally too. The 53-year-old actor passed away at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on Wednesday after a colon infection. He was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour in 2018.
Before making his mark in Bollywood with films such as Maqbool, The Lunchbox and Haider, Irrfan appeared in television shows. In the 1990s, he was seen in the popular series Chandrakanta as twin brothers Badrinath and Somnath.
On Son of Abish in 2017, Irrfan recollected his experience of working in Chandrakanta, and how the director mocked him for wanting to know the details of his role. “Actually, those were the days that you were working in series because you wanted to run the house and you know, be in the game. In those days, the deal with TV shows was that you have worked, the episode has been released also and you haven’t been paid. So you had to go to the producer or director and literally beg, ‘I haven’t paid my rent, my children are starving…’ You wouldn’t get paid till you made up stories like that. Then you would get paid a little bit. So around that time, someone introduced me to the director of Chandrakanta,” he said.
After acting in a few episodes of Chandrakanta, Irrfan realised that he was ‘barely getting 4-5 lines per episode’ and began wondering if he would have more to do in the future. “It’s not like they ever told us any of that. We were just expected to keep going. Once by mistake, I asked the director, ‘Is it going to keep continuing like this or is there anything better ahead for Badrinath?’ He was chewing a betel leaf with a handkerchief tied around his head. He looked at me and called the entire unit. And he asks, ‘Is he Dharmendra or what?’ And that day, I just didn’t know what to say. I asked him to tell me what my role is, and he is asking me if I am Dharmendra that I want to know the role,” he said.
Eventually, the character of Badrinath got popular, but then Irrfan ‘got bored if it’. By then, the actor had ‘different terms’ with his director. The actor had said, “I abused him while talking. I said, ‘Now you kill me off!’ So then he killed me. Then, after 3-4 months, he called me and said, ‘Come over! Come! Come!’ I said, ‘Why? I am dead now, right?’ He said, ‘No, no! We need to create one more.’ He said you will be playing Badrinath’s brother Somnath. One of them had dreadlocks and the other one was blonde. I was like, ‘From which angle do they look like brothers?’”
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