• Vijeta Gawdi

Remembered for light-years ahead- Irrfan Khan


“Thank Heaven! The crisis --the danger, is past, and the lingering illness, is over at last --, and the fever called 'living' is conquered at last " ~ Edgar Allan Poe

On January 7, 1967, a star fell down from the heavens above and landed on Earth. Years later, he starstruck his audience with his unforgettable work. A career that spanned over 30 decades and won him so many accolades. He was an astute actor having the most remarkable understanding of the characters, he portrayed so flawlessly. His every performance, natural and effortless. The ability to get under the skin of the many characters he played, brought them to life on the screen and made them relatable.

Yes, we all have Irfan Khan in our prayers today. I had the privilege of seeing him in person about 7 years ago. My family and I were out for a Sunday brunch at Mumbai's Sahara Star. A lot of people had come to brunch that day. The lady attending to us quickly accommodated our family of 12. As I got up to check the buffet out, my eyes caught sight of him. Sharp, witty eyed and having a cheery disposition, the star Irfan Khan was seated a few tables away.

The unconventional looks, charming persona and the most heartwarming smile, is how I remember him from that day. He was dressed in a black and grey suit looking lean and fit. He came across as a very genuine person, calm and collected. One thing that struck me the most was that unlike most other celebrities, he wasn't wearing any shades. He had no qualms about making eye contact with the staff that was serving him and the other people around. For the entire duration of his lunch, he kept looking around every once in a while and acknowledging the people around with the wave of a hand and a smile. Clearly, this person had none of the starry airs. For a brief moment, he looked towards our table and seeing my firstborn who was barely a year old then, he smiled.

Irfan Khan succumbed to colitis. I am sure he didn't go down without putting up a tough fight. He had so much at stake, so much to lose. The sun was shining bright and it was his time to make hay. He was already at the pinnacle of success. How I wish, he could have enjoyed the view from atop, a little bit longer. Trust life to throw a curveball when you least expect it.

My heart goes out to his children, who have lost their hero, their Superman today. My condolences to the family, bereaved and desolate, without their pillar. A lifetime of so many things for his children to achieve, as they try to fill their father's shoes, sadly knowing always, that he would never know what they accomplished.

Nobody knows what lies on the other side of death. Is it the end of an era or the beginning of a new one. May you rest in peace amongst the stars, for a little while only before falling back again to realise all of your unfulfilled dreams. You were taken away too soon, but you will be remembered for light years ahead. :)

The stage is empty, the lights are out, the audience long gone, you have played your part to perfection, Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan takes a bow as the curtains fall on the play of life :)

Adios Amigo!

Vijeta Gawdi

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