Living with Irrfan, still: Sutapa Sikdar


Living with Irrfan, still: Sutapa Sikadar. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Feb 8 : She says he never left. That snatches of him keep coming back, reminding her that those we love leave a part of them with us. But writer Sutapa Sikdar, wife of late actor Irrfan also says that these days when she takes two steps forward, something pushes her back. That life’s chronology seems to have altered, and time moves with an erratic rhythm.

“He was not just my husband. Our relationship began with friendship and he stayed my best buddy. A partner of 30 years… how do you deal with that loss? It has been more than three years but… I was never prepared but then we never are,” she told IANS.

A National School of Drama (NSD) graduate who began her career with Govind Nihlani, Sikdar who was at the recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) to be part of the session “Irrfan: A Life in Movies” and has written the Hindi version of a Bengali film besides consulting on two shows, says: “I told the writer of ‘Irrfan: A Life in Memories’, Shubra Gupta that the book must be launched in Jaipur as Irrfan was from here, so it has been a homecoming of sorts.”

Sikdar says she has not given anyone permission to write his biography and all books on him explore the different facets of him as an actor, and what his co-actors thought about him.

Remembering him from the time he entered NSD, Sikdar recalls, “He was a very shy guy. But there was a certain depth to him, the conviction to understand his craft thoroughly. He always wanted to exceed his expectations and kept working on his craft.”

Filmmaker Anup Singh, who directed the late actor in ‘Qissa’ and ‘The Song of Scorpions’ has also written a beautiful book on him titled ‘Dialogues with the Wind’.

“He is a very close family friend who knew different facets of Irrfan. I liked what he has written.”

Stressing that Irrfan was an extremely private man, and there are many sides of him that Sikdar says she has discovered through the books written by others.

“I am discovering so much more about him. He shared a special relationship with everyone and everyone has a story to tell. There are times when I get surprised by people’s stories about him,” says Sikdar who has written various television series including ‘Banegi Apni Baat’ and films like ‘Kahani’, ‘Khamoshi’ and Shabd.

She has also produced many best-sellers and films such as ‘Madari’ and ‘Qareeb Qareeb Singlle’.

Even as their son, Babil Khan has now entered films, the mother confesses that she never wanted him to get into this profession. “Unlike our times, there is so much insensitivity now. Look at the venomous posts on social media… he is a very sensitive child, but no one will care about that. Also, there is an unfair comparison and abnormal expectations. It is just not right to compare him with Irrfan. Earlier he would get distressed with the comparison, but now he has realised that he is his own person who has an individual journey. He told me once — ‘Baba would not have liked if I followed his style’.”