Irrfan Khan’s drama mentor Ravi Chaturvedi remembers the late actor: ‘Bohut masti karta tha’

In an attempt to understand the roots of Irrfan Khan and how he took up acting, we spoke to his first mentor, Ravi Chaturvedi, whose theater group Srijan in Rajasthan was one of the first windows to star for the departed actor.

Excerpts from the conversation:

Irrfan Khan debuted as a backstage help

Ravi Chaturvedi remembers Irrfan Khan as a normal student who did not have an acting background, but had dreams of acting that enhanced his eyesight. He said, “Irrfan did not have an acting background. He had not seen many movies or even plays. Irfan came to me as a normal student. For some time, he only worked backstage. He was very curious from the beginning. Once there was a place in a play, and so I asked him to do that role. He was very committed and quite confident, even though it was one of his first performances. He was involved in all my plays from 1981 to 1984. He wanted to do more for the theater group. He may have been part of only 3-4 plays at that time, but for whatever he did, he would devote all his heart to it. He was involved in research and drama, along with helping other actors. He was doing a lot of work on the characters at the time, and I remember how he used to make the entire ‘janma patriotism’ of the characters. He will write details about how and what the character will be like on stage. “

Recalling the first stage performance of Irrfan, Chaturvedi shared, “I first saw him acting in one of my friend’s plays called Mahabhoja. He was playing the role of a guard. He had to stand for a long time and had no dialogue, but even he was so confident. “

He said, “Then I cast him in the plays Uddhavasta Dharamshala (A Man in Dark Times) by Mohit Chatterjee’s GP Deshpande and Razakrato (Guinea Pig), a drama inspired by the Naxalite movement. For that, we would rehearse as per schedule Were, but he would make me rehearsal in two shifts. He wanted to do more to be able to do his best. So, I would rehearse with the whole cast, and then he would practice for two hours extra . There are times when you need to act as an actor, but Irrfan was different. He was a very demanding actor. He was natural. “

Irrfan Khan with his first theater group in Rajasthan. (Photo: Ravi Chaturvedi)

When Irrfan Khan almost gave up his acting dream

Just when Irfan Khan joined NSD, his father passed away, leaving the responsibility of family business on the actor’s shoulder. Regarding making sure that Irfan stayed in NSD and did not occupy his father’s tire shop, Ravi Chaturvedi said, “Unfortunately when he went to NSD, his father died. He was very confused and worried that he would have to leave NSD to run his father’s tire repair shop. So I convinced his younger brother to take over the shop and give Irfan some time. “

Irrfan Khan rehearsing for a play. (Photo: Ravi Chaturvedi)

Chaturvedi also pointed out that Irfan was an ultra-ambitious student, but he knew what he was asking for. He shared, “After a year of living in NSD, I thought he had become a bit more ambitious. He used to criticize the teachers there. He was right in a way because the teachers there did not have answers to his questions. But I told him that NSD has a library and a workshop, and it was time he leaned in instead of questioning his teachers. And they did a lot of work that way. He was a good student. “

One of the first productions by Irrfan Khan. (Photo: Ravi Chaturvedi)

Irrfan Khan was not a quiet student

Irfan was like any other student, full of ‘fun’, but also very caring. Ravi Chaturvedi said, “Irrfan looked like a humble student when he joined our group, but then we realized that he is quite articulate and said ‘Mastikor’.” I used to scold him a lot. He was very courageous. Our theater group was in the interiors of Rajasthan, and such places are influenced by lizards. Many of the girls in the group were afraid of these lizards. Once Irfan showed up with an air gun to kill the lizard, and when that plan failed, he killed all the lizards with his lizards. Irrfan was the best performer. “

He said, “Irfan was a very ordinary student, but at the same time, there was something extraordinary about him. He never got into student politics or controversies. He was his own person. He was a very lively and sensual boy. He was never Not a dull student. He would be introverted, but never dull. “

Irrfan Khan rehearsing for a play. (Photo: Ravi Chaturvedi)

Witness the success of Irrfan Khan

Ravi Chaturvedi concluded by saying that he saw the heights and lows of Irrfan Khan, and while he did not like that the actor had to struggle a lot, he recalled his success again. Chaturvedi said, “I was deeply saddened that Irfan had to struggle a lot before becoming an established actor in the film industry. He had to do a lot of commercial films before he really did what he did. I think it was important for him to do these films to sustain himself. So when I started seeing him doing all the international projects, I would feel proud of him. If I had traveled to a different country, and if his film had been screened, I would have gone to see it. I remember watching Jurassic World in London, some movies in China and movies like Mira Nair and Amazing Spiderman in America. “

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