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Irrfan Khan brought to the art of acting an inner truth and finesse rarely seen before in Indian cinema. As a man, he won the trust and affection of everybody who came in contact with him. As an actor, he inspired a diverse range of younger actors to abandon deception and remain true to their own selves.
Anup Singh, the director of two critically acclaimed films with Irrfan, takes us on a unique journey with this exceptional man and actor. In this book, he offers an intimate glimpse into the working relationship between a director and an actor as they trudge through mutual wariness, uncertainties, and blunders to a friendship founded firmly in creativity. As we travel with them to Punjab and Rajasthan and watch them at work on their films, we see in minute detail the devotion to hard work and the openness to uncertainty that make Irrfan’s performances so hypnotizing.
Anup Singh brings to life each encounter—whether with a hesitant co-actor or a love-struck crew member, a grove that seems to speak to Irrfan, a desert sky teeming with cranes circling overhead, a starving bullock ready to attack—that inspired and energised the gifted actor to continue his passionate dialogue with himself, his audience and the world.
‘Irrfan Khan. The intensity. The responsibility of the intensity. The silent righteousness of the responsibility. The eloquent eyes of his silent righteousness. If I were to present an actor whose mere appearance could speak its mind with sophisticated elegance, I’d instantly point to Irrfan Khan.’
‘Anup Singh has exorcised us of the male psychoses of the hunter—to give imaging a new life by a deep existential bonding with his actor, with nature in all its glory, its violence, its awesome munificence. Splendid!’
‘I cried, I laughed, but most importantly, I felt held as I turned the pages of this book. Held by the extraordinary kinship of two wonderful men. The universe feels full of possibilities. Yes, there is cinema, but the protagonist is Life. It’s an invitation to live and to die with a certain joy. I am certain this book will provide joy and solace to all who love Irrfan.’
‘This book is a many-splendored thing—a record of Irrfan and Anup Singh’s enduring friendship, a perspective on the artistry of the actor and an insight into the magic of movie-making.’
‘Few would have known Irrfan, the actor and the man, as well as filmmaker Anup Singh, who worked with him through two seminal films—Qissa and The Song of Scorpions. And no one could have brought Irrfan alive in the intuitive way that Anup Singh does, with his achingly poetic and overwhelmingly cinematic book. With his vivid memories, detailed reminiscences, elaborate conversations, delicate affection and astute observations, he intertwines the personal with the professional, the past with the present, in an elegant, stream-of-consciousness narrative. With their travels through the making of the two films and the wanderings in life together, Anup takes us on a journey into Irrfan’s heart, mind and soul.’
‘Dreamy, immersive, and deeply magnetic, this book is a mythic beast. Demons and dervishes haunt Anup Singh’s memories of Irrfan and tell us the story of an actor’s possession of a body he thrummed like a living musical instrument. The prose transports us to the soul of power and beauty that made Irrfan’s life on screen deeply sensory and surreally spiritual at the same time.’
‘Irrfan: Dialogues with the Wind is a spellbinding reconstruction of a beautiful, delicate and affectionate relationship—an ode to friendship. Reading it made me feel as if I were quietly witnessing the evolving dynamics of a very genuine, organic connection. Coming from a place of purity, the book is as joyful as it is melancholy, a portrait of a man so consumed by the love for his craft that it puts into context the greatness of his performances. It opens a window into the rich and meditative inner world of Irrfan, a space so rarefied and reserved that it must have been a privilege to work so intimately with him and glean his insights about love and life.’