Vishal Bhardwaj Wrote a Screenplay Titled “Irrfan and I” and Everybody Needs to Read It.

I don’t think it’s possible to ever be ‘over’ Irrfan Khan’s death. It just isn’t. His wife, Sutapa Sikdar, wrote in her statement after his death that the whole world has taken his passing as a personal loss–and she is absolutely right. It is painful to accept the fact that one of the greatest Indian actors, who was loved by literally everybody, is no more. He didn’t just give us quality cinema; he gave us a genuineness that we thought was lacking in the film industry, and the world. He gave us hope that it is possible to be kind, and good, and loyal, all the while being a superstar.

The films which really made him stand apart, that forced all emotions out from him–from ishq to hurt to ecstasy to derangement–were Vishal Bharadwaj’s Shakespeare movies. The trilogy of films he made that were inspired by William Shakespeare’s plays: Maqbool, Omkara and Haider, all starred Irrfan Khan. And he played a starkly different role in each one. It’s no surprise that Vishal Bharadwaj and Irrfan Khan kept working together. Now we know that the two of them shared a bond that went deeper than any creative one. They shared a love that defines friendship and brotherhood.

Almost as though using his writing skills to navigate his grief, Vishal Bharadwaj wrote a screenplay titled “Irrfan aur Main”–“Irrfan and I”. It’s a beautiful, heart-wrenching script of just 19 pages that encapsulates the relationship between director and actor, two friends, two brothers. The screenplay goes back and forth in time, including moments from film sets and their personal lives, from visiting each other’s homes to friendly gaalis given at movie premieres. The script shows Irrfan in all his brilliance: his natural funny bone, generosity, his ability to make everybody around him feel comfortable, while also the effect that his death had on his loved ones. The end is absolutely shattering; Bharadwaj pieces together two of Irrfan’s deaths–one in real life, and the reel death that he was to die in Haider. It’s a shocking, jarring thing; one never expects death to happen to people they love immensely. Especially not to people with such good hearts and such fine talent.

Bharadwaj concludes his screenplay with one shattering line:
“I wish I could edit out this scene from my life.”

Dosti ho toh aisi.

Read the whole screenplay here:
First published on Times of India

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