Shubhra Gupta

07 June 2023
408 pages


An eminent film critic engages Bollywood and beyond in conversation about Irrfan Khan’s art, craft, life and legacy.

A spellbinding performer, Irrfan Khan was also a seeker who never stopped honing his skills, each new work a revelation, his oeuvre transformative for Hindi cinema. From his National School of Drama days to his nearly decade-long stint in television and subsequently his arrival in the movies, everyone who watched Irrfan knew they were in the presence of someone special. With his death from an incurable cancer, we lost an actor nonpareil. What is it that gave Irrfan, an ‘outsider’ to Bollywood, his distinction? What has been his contribution to cinema? How does one measure his legacy?

Long-time film critic Shubhra Gupta asks these and other probing questions to members of the film fraternity who knew Irrfan, worked with him or observed him closely – Sutapa Sikdar, Shailja Kejriwal, Shyam Benegal, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vishal Bhardwaj, Naseeruddin Shah, Mira Nair, Konkona Sen Sharma, Anup Singh, Tillotama Shome, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, among several others. As they discuss Irrfan’s films, his craft, and his philosophy as an actor, what emerges is a deeply layered, complex and endlessly absorbing portrait of one of Indian cinema’s most influential artistes.

Abuzz with a polyphony of perspectives on the actor and Hindi cinema at large, this is a rich collectible for Irrfan’s admirers and cinephiles alike.