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Comment: Irrfan Khan redefined tragic scenes in cinema

In a career spanning just over three decades, the late actor seemed to attract characters that suffer a tragic fate

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By Mayur Lookhar

Jhumpa Lahiri’s much-acclaimed book The Namesake [2003] was a realistic portrayal of the lives of early Indian immigrants in the West. In 2006, it was adapted wonderfully in Mira Nair’s cross-cultural drama of the same title.  The Namesake [2006] was stark different to the hunky dory, romantic world of Indian immigrants as seen before in Yash Chopra’s world of films.

For yours truly, the most haunting memory from the film is the sudden death of Ashoke Ganguli [Irrfan Khan].  Yes, the vagaries of life brought its own stress, and Irrfan carried that in his look, but this death came like a bolt from the blue.  All it took was one phone call from a hospital staff who informed Ashima [Tabu] that her husband suffered a massive heart attack and passed away.  There is stunned silence, no word heard from Ashima. She is too shocked to react.

In the next scene we see Ashima at a morgue. The body is pulled out from a cold locker and there he laid. Eyes shut, a stressed last expression, a reminder of the massive attack Ashoke suffered.  Both Ashima and her son Gogoi break down briefly later.  There in the locker, Ashoke looked so cold that yours truly really felt as if Irrfan passed away that moment.

For an Indian audience this was an unusual tragic scene. This tragic representation was not what Indian masses were brought up onto. There was no usual melodrama. No screen time wasted on a dying man conversing with his dear ones. He died without muttering 100 words before his last breath.  Ashoke Ganguly just went away in a flash.

The Namesake [2006] was  an international English film. The West, Europe aren’t as emotional as we Indians, or so we believed.  If one looks back Irrfan’s career, the actor seemed to attract characters that meet a tragic fate. And in most of the desi films, Khan passed away without much fuss, but it was the intensity, the internal turmoil that writ so large on his face.

Khan shared a special bond with filmmaker, actor Tigmanshu Dhulia. Khan had starred in four of Dhulia’s directorial.  This doesn’t include the two Star Best Sellers stories [TV series] Dhulia helmed in the late 90s.   It all started with Haasil [2003] where he played the antagonist.  A bit of a psyched character, Ranvijay Singh [khan] egged on Aniruddha Sharma [Jimmy Shergill] to shoot him.   While he had a motto to kill Singh, but Sharma didn’t really have the courage to fire the bullet. He does so eventually but more out of the constant egging by Singh.  “ I want to die.  Just shoot me” Singh said repeatedly. Perhaps, Sharma accidentally fired the gun.

Khan played grey characters in Dhulia’s Charas [2004], Paan Singh Tomar [2012] and Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster Returns [2013].  In Paan Singh Tomar [2012], Khan went out all guns blazing, choosing to fight like a lion than surrender as a coward.  In Charas [2004], a funky looking Ranbir Singh Rathore [Khan] tames the enemy but then slits his own throat.  “I can be your prisoner, but not a prisoner to your corrupt government’” Rathore tells Ashraf Khan  [Uday Chopra] before slitting his throat.

Death was certain in films where he played the antagonist, but Khan dying in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool [2003] and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns [2013] was very cathartic.   Both Maqbool and Indrajeet Pratap [Khan] had blood on their minds, but the internal turmoil dissuaded them from their goal.  The emotions get the better of him as the thirst for blood turns into despair and self-misery. In such a state, a man can only pull a trigger with the gun pointed at his head. (In Maqbool, he was shot by a henchman]. Once again very words spoken. It’s the deep, intense eyes that reflect the turmoil within.

Films likes Saat Khoon Maaf [2011], Qissa [2013], D-Day [2013] saw Khan’s respective character perish under different circumstances.  In Jurassic World [2015], the billionaire Masrani [Khan] dies trying to neutralise the very monster his company created.  Intense, emotional or action sequences, often fans shed a tear whenever Irrfan died in a film.

Death is common for artistes who perhaps played antagonists, henchmen all their life, but Irrfan Khan is perhaps a rare actor who perished in many of his films, irrespective of the character traits.  There’s seldom any fuss, melodrama over his character’s death.  Being natural perhaps that is how he liked it.

Filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, who had directed Khan in Chocolate [2005] recalled an intriguing tale while paying tribute to Khan.

“The great thing about Irrfan was that he was an original actor. He never followed any template.  He never liked loud acting.  Whenever anyone did it, he used to stamp his feet [in disapproval]. When he did that, it meant that the shot needed to be retaken,” Agnihotri said in his video post on Facebook.

For the record, Agnihotri’s Chocolate boasted of talents like Anil Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Emraan Hashmi.  Three men who perhaps weren’t as natural or effortless as Irrfan.

It is fair to say that in the new millennia, Irrfan Khan is one actor who redefined the art of dying in Indian cinema.  Talk less, act and just go.

He kept his personal life very private. Khan made no fuss about his achievements.  He seldom expressed any despair over his losses.   It is only the beast of media, social media that perhaps made it impossible for Khan to hide his long battle with cancer.  Even through the toughest times, he didn’t let go of his sense of humour.

On the day of the release of the trailer of his last film Angrezi Medium [2020], Khan had posted a heart-warming audio message.

“Main aaj aapke saath hoon bhi aur nahi bhi. Kher, yeh film Angrezi Medium [2020] mere liye bahot khaas hain. Meri dil-e-khwaish thi ki is film ko utne hi pyaar se promote karoon jitney pyaar se hum logon ne banaya hain. Lekin mere shareer main kuch unwanted mehmaan baithe hue hain.  Unse vartalap chal raha hain, dekhte hain kis karvat oonth baith ta hain.  Jaisa bhi hoga, aapko itilla kar di jayegi,”

(Today I am both present and not present with you. Angrezi Medium [2020] is a special film for me.  It was my heartfelt desire to promote this film with as much love as we made it with. But there are some unwanted guests in my body. I’ m having a conversation with them.  Let’s see which side the camel turns up.  Whatever happens, you would be duly informed)

If one is an expert gauging from voice tones, then this last audio message by Irrfan perhaps suggested that the actor was still battling the life-threatening disease, but the vibrancy in his tone gave hope that he would eventually win this battle.

Angrezi Medium [2020] released just before the lockdown came into effect. Good, bad or ugly, but Irrfan received praise for his honest work.

The tragedy of Irrfan Khan’s life though is that just like many of his characters, he passed away without making any fuss about it.  The nation-wide lockdown due to the Coronavirus meant that the poor man couldn’t attend his mother’s Saeeda Begum’s [95] funeral in Jaipur a few days ago. If some reports are to be believed, Irrfan’s last words were ‘Amma has come to take me’.

Tragically, Irrfan’s death mirrors the death of his many characters too.  Barely few words spoken and the man was gone. While his fans and industry mourn on social media, there were just a handful of people who carried his coffin and laid him to rest.

On this tragic day [29 April, 2020] we couldn’t help but reminisce this intense dialogue from Haider [2014].

“Darya bhi main, darakht bhi main … Jhelum bhi main, chinar bhi main … dair bhi hoon, haram bhi hoon … Shia bhi hoon, Sunni bhi hoon, main hoon pandit … Main tha, main hoon aur main hi rahoonga.”

Goodbye Irrfan. You were, you are and you will remain in our hearts forever.

(This is an excerpt from our special May issue on Rishi Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. Please click on this link  https://cineblitz.news/may_2020 to read more)

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news. https://cineblitz.in/

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Here is a list of 5 films/ shows that will take you right back to the joy and stress of first jobs!

Check out the list of films and shows…

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Dreamt of a fancy desk but got a seat next to the photocopy guy? Envisioned the king’s life of delegating work but were saddled with endless presentations and number crunching? We’ve all had our unique first job experiences – be it saying all kinds of prayers before hitting the leave request or constantly complaining to HR about the flaky internet.

But the silver lining through it all has to be your favourite co-worker or work buddy, who makes even work seem like play at the end of day.

Here is a list of 5 films/ shows that will take you right back to the joy and stress of first jobs!

  1. Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year – Harpreet Singh Bedi is a true example of a struggler who wants to make it big in his career. However – landing a job isn’t the difficult part, but surviving the first job is.  This film is a story of a fresh graduate trying to find a balance between the maddening demands of the ‘professional’ way, and the way of his heart.
  2. Basement Company– This series chronicles the lives of first jobbers Raj, Simran and Rahul who are forced into the basement of their office while it undergoes a major transformation to attract more business. The show is set in Gurgaon, wherein these three badnaseeb buddies are put in the wackiest situations as they try to regain their territory upstairs. While trying to achieve this, they are fighting their respective battles to achieve their dreams which lie beyond the four walls of this company as well as juggling friendships, relationships and their new lives at work. The 5 episodic series is streaming exclusively on MX Player, binge watch all episodes for FREE and catch its trailer now: https://bit.ly/BasementCompany_Trailer
  3. Guru– The film is about a villager, Gurukant Desai who arrives in Bombay 1958, and rises from its streets to become the GURU, the biggest tycoon in Indian history. The film also highlights Guru’s struggles while becoming the successful textile merchant. Motivation at its peak!
  1. Official Chukiyagiri– This is a story that depicts the life of every person who aspires to build his image in the corporate world but has to face unlimited problems and obstacles – obvio! It’s a story of an intern – Spandan Chukya, who has just started his internship at an MNC. He’s very excited about his work and the people he’s going to meet, but life didn’t seem easy when he actually realized what he has to go through!
  1. Wake Up Sid–Well not every person is proactive or in Sid’s case – active. Similar is the story of Sid Mehra who is a young man living in Mumbai who benefits from the indulgence of his parents. After graduating from university, he makes a stab at working in his father’s business, but lasts only a week. He then meets Aisha, an aspiring writer from Calcutta. Sid helps her get settled in the city and then wants to take things further — but Aisha isn’t interested because of Sid’s slacker personality. Her rejection is what wakes Sid up and then the struggle to find an actual first job starts.

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news. https://cineblitz.in/

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Veteran comedian Jagdeep passes away

He is survived by his two sons Javed Jafri and Naved Jafri and daughter Muskaan

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Veteran comedian Jagdeep has passed away at the age of 81. The senior actor had not been keeping well for some time. Though there is no official statement released by the family a source close to the family confirmed the death of the actor.

Jagdeep who was popular as Soorma Bhopali from Sholay had over 400 films to his credit. He started his career as a child artiste with BR Chopra’s Afsana and then established himself as a comedian with Brahmachari.

He is survived by his two sons Javed Jafri and Naved Jafri and daughter Muskaan.

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news. https://cineblitz.in/

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The wait is over! Amazon Prime Video’s most awaited trailer of Kannada film ‘Law’ to be released tomorrow

The film has been created by Puneeth Rajkumar’s PRK Productions and will exclusively release on July 17

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The most awaited Kannada film titled ‘Law’ was recently announced and the excitement level has been at its peak for every crime thriller genre lover. The makers had recently also released a build-up poster of Ragini Chandran which created a huge buzz and the trailer of the film was highly demanded. The wait is finally over as the makers announce the trailer date with its motion poster- And, it’s coming out on 9th July, 2020.

Amazon Prime Video’s took to their social media and shared, “One must fight their own battles! trailer out tomorrow. #LawOnPrime, premiering july 17 @iamraginichandran #MukhyamantriChandru @puneethrajkumar.official #AshwiniPuneethRajkumar

#MGovinda @raghusamarth @vasuki_vaibhav_ @siri_prahlad @prk.productions #PRKAudio”

Law is directed by Raghu Samarth and produced by Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar, M Govinda. The legal Kannada drama is led by Ragini Prajwal who makes her debut as a lead actress and Mukhyamantri Chandru, Achyuth Kumar, Sudharani among others. The film also features Siri Prahlad and veteran actor Mukyamanthri Chandru in prominent roles. Law also marks the first film from Sandalwood industry to have a digital release. The film also marks Ragini Chandran’s debut and looks surely like a promising one.
The film has been created by Puneeth Rajkumar’s PRK Productions and will exclusively release on 17th July 2020 on Amazon Prime Video. Don’t forget to set a reminder on your phone and your calendars too!

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news. https://cineblitz.in/

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