And for one among the many devastated by the untimely death of Irrfan, these days have been particularly difficult as he reconciles to the void. And Vishal Bhardwaj has gone back to what he knows best – his craft – to express what has been bottled up within.
In the first half of 2018, Irrfan was about to work on a project with Vishal – the man who had directed him in ‘Maqbool‘, ‘7 Khoon Maaf‘ and ‘Haider‘, and also worked with him in ‘Talvar‘ and ‘Madaari’ – when things took an unexpected turn. “Irrfan is a warrior and we know he will conquer this battle”, Vishal announced in March that year, as he postponed the project and promised to “start with renewed energy and celebration when our warrior returns as a winner.”
The warrior battled on, but there was to be no victorious return.
Vishal stayed engaged with Irrfan through these two years as he battled the situation, exchanged notes, jokes, and apprehensions. And when it all ended, he summed it up with “a part of me has died with him”.
Thirteen days after Irrfan’s passing away – on the
terahvi, as it were – Vishal shares with us a note in Irrfan’s memory. A labour of love and of grief. Not a blog, but a screenplay – a short one – that condenses and distils the relationship of many years. From flashbacks of Irrfan’s mischievousness and dry wit to the moments of gazing at his face one last time as he lay wrapped in a shroud, he explains why, in his own words, “no actor will be able to take that space in my life, ever again.”
As you go through it with him, you can, navigating this short screenplay, sense what he experienced when he heard, from the graveyard’s caretaker, the words that brought a finality to it all:
Kisi ko aakhiri deedar karna ho toh aage aa jaaye…”