Exactly a month ago, the Indian film industry lost the master actor Irrfan Khan. As the industry is jostling to adjust, his fans and friends still weep with mere mention of the actor’s name. I don’t know if this void will be filled, says one such friend of Irrfan from his hometown (Jaipur) who spoke to us. Ziaullah, who is not just a friend but also a neighbour of Irrfan from Krishna Colony in Jaipur begins the conversation by dedicating these lines: ‘Maut Hai Uski Zaman Jiska Afsoos Kare, Yun Toh Duniya Main Sabhi Aaye Hai Marne Ke Liye!’ he adds, that the untimely demise of Irrfan has been an irreparable loss for friends, family, film industry and the society at large.
“People love him so much that they remember him every day. I am his neighbour and very close to his brother Salman. I used to enquire about Irrfan’s health. Last we had heard was that he was recovering and we were very happy about it,” says Ziaullah. One of the reasons why his neighbours remember him fondly is because he was a simple man. Ziaullah says Irrfan never behaved like a celebrity. He was just another neighbour for the residence of Krishna Colony. “He used to meet neighbours and talk to them nicely. He used to inquire about them. Whenever he used to come to meet us, he would mostly talk about patangbazi (kite flying) and laugh. He used to be a kid in front of kids. You could never make out that he was such a big star,” Ziaullah adds.
What makes it worse for them is that Irrfan passed away within four days of his mother’s demise. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, he couldn’t attend the funeral rites. “He was very attached to his mother. He would rush home whenever he was informed of his ammi (mother’s) health. He would visit if it is for a short period, but his arrival to meet his mother was indubitable,” states Ziaullah.
While talking about some beautiful memories with a star who made it big in Bollywood and created a mark for himself in the west as well, Ziaullah reveals, “Irrfan bhai loved patang bazi (kite flying). Every year on 14th January he would try to come to Jaipur and spend time with family and friends. When he was a kid, he used to keep those kites next to his bed when he used to sleep. Whenever he used to come, it used to add a positive energy to colony. He used to get excited whenever a kite lost or won a battle.”
As we ask Ziaullah to disclose one thing about Irrfan which many won’t know, he reveals, “With the Coronavirus situation we were creating funds to help people. When we spoke to his brother, he was ready to help and even Irrfan helped us with funds for poor people. His only clause was nobody should know that he has helped. As a family, they believe that the right hand shouldn’t know what the left hand has given. For them it was more important for people to get relief.”
“Now, I am sharing this with the world as he is no more between us. It’s our responsibility to tell everyone that there are souls like this too,” he concludes with a smile.