Two years later, when Irrfan Khan’s Lunch Box was to be released, he was in great spirit probably because he knew he had given a great performance and was receiving rave reviews at international festivals. It was his first brush with super savvy Karan Johar and his masterminded marketing. It was around this time I released my one more book Talking Cinema: Conversations with Actors and Filmmaker and I asked Karan and Irrfan to release it together. Irrfan was curious about the book and asked me many questions, one of them was why he was not included in my book. I joked that he was not meant to be a part of a crowd and deserves a book by himself. He laughed heartily and posed for my picture.
He was in a reflective mood that day and when we were alone in a corner, asked me what he must do to improve his persona. My experience warned me that this was not a casual question, there is a possibility that he had been thinking about it for a while and unable to find the answers. In normal circumstances I would not have reacted but Irrfan was so earnest that I responded just as spontaneously, advised him that perhaps it was time for him to get a little vain and pay more attention to his appearance, he could have got offended but he was indulgent, asked him how.
I told him that the first thing he needs to do is to seek an dermatologist and treat his under eyes because once that is cured his close-ups will blossom and the second to quit smoking. When I met him a few months later at a party, Irrfan was wearing large dark glasses, when he saw me he said softly ‘Everyone is assuming my shades are a fashion statement but I have followed your advice and the treatment is successful now I’m working on the second thing but that’s very difficult’.
To be continued