The broad expanse of Irrfan Khan's movie career and his otherwordly improvisational skills were a testament to his incredible versatality as an actor and his gift for connecting with all kinds of audiences. He was only 54, but he left behind a legacy that spun over several decades.
To some, he will be remembered for his portrayal of a first-generation immigrant from the East Indian state in Namesake. Still, to others, he will be recalled for his seamless transformation into a notorious dacoit in Tigmanshu Dhulia's Paan Singh Tomar.
This was just two of the many examples of what Irrfan could bring to the table. When the news of his death came a while ago, suddenly it felt like the Hindi cinema would never be the same without him.
Irrfan had an odd way of not just making people laugh but connecting with them on an all-too-human level. His films truly reflected who and what he was as an artiste, even as he rightly pointed out in an old interview with CNN-News18's Rajeev Masand, "The most imprtant thing to become an actor is to explore yourself; observe yourself; reflect your surrounding and the society in some way. And, I'm really fortunate that I could do that through my job."
The actor had revealed even though he intially wanted to join the film business for the materialistic aspects of it, he had an awakening of sorts after joining a drama school. Since then, there was no looking back for him.
When Masand had asked him whether turning 50 made him wiser, he quickly responded, "I don't understand what is the obessession of counting years. Age has nothing to do with wisdom. It's just what kind of life you are leading."
"Sometimes I meet kids who are much more wiser than me. It's just an exposure and your bent of mind then you definitely seek and grow. Sometimes you have an attitude or tendency to grasp or observe thing. If you have that then age is just a factor. But I'm fortunate that I chose this job. Initially, I chose it for fame and money but as I entered into drama schools and I saw the potential of it."
Having absolutely no plans and going with the flow was his idea of a perfect life, he had revealed.
"I used to plan things, but my planning never ever worked. For me, it's more of a spontaneous reaction to things and go with a flow. Life has deliberately given me signals that 'don't plan and I will see to it that your plan doesn't materialise.' I learnt that lesson very early in my age.
"Life constantly kept me nudging that don't fix things. I'm thankful to that I was a little aware that what life was telling me. I could take that signal. I can't plan. If I plan like for two months I'll start feel suffocating," he added.
For Irrfan, the main fear about growing old as an actor was not losing the looks, but his wilingness to stop experimenting.
"Take Clint Eastwood or Woody Allen for example, the way they are growing old is absolute wow. I would love to grow old like that where there is still exploring. So, you have to bring new blood and thoughts in your stories. You cannot do it on your own all the time," he said, before concluding, "It's a tragedy if you don't realise that your creative instincts are gone. It is a helpless situation where you don't know why it's not working. I think that's the most frightful and scary thing."