Mumbai: Film critic Rashid Irani passes away at 74
Film critic Rashid Irani, 74, who reviewed new English releases for the Hindustan Times for several years, died following a suspected fall, most likely on July 30.
The beloved member of the film fraternity lived alone but visited the Mumbai Press Club almost every day. He had spoken in a recent interview about the difficulty he was facing, managing the isolation and monotony of life in the pandemic. He had moved his computer to the Club, colleagues said on Monday, so that he would be compelled to leave the house more often. When he didn’t turn up there for the third day in a row, friends from the Club informed the police and accompanied them to his Dhobi Talao home on Monday afternoon, where he was found.
A former accountant and co-owner of the iconic-but-now-shut Brabourne Irani café at Dhobi Talao, Irani had been a film critic for more than four decades. “Rashid would attend every single English film’s press screening. When you saw him, you knew that everything was right with the world,” said film critic Anupama Chopra.
His love affair with cinema began in his teens, when he became captivated by the films of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, said his close friend, photographer Rafeeq Ellias. “He then started watching Iranian films and Japanese films and Korean films. He watched and loved all kinds of cinema.”
Irani had contracted Covid-19 last year and recovered. The Mumbai Press Club was always there for him; after all, he’d been a member for 30 years, said chairman Gurbir Singh. “He was very independent-minded and immensely free spirited. I loved that about him,” Singh added. “As soon as he tested negative, for instance, he headed straight home, ignoring all pleas to stay in hospital longer and recuperate.”
Chopra remembered how Irani always seemed to know even the most obscure films. “Because he had seen so much. His only focus was cinema,” she added. “He wasn’t distracted by anything else. I don’t think any of us critics will be able to fill his shoes.”