“I’m On a Journey”: Irrfan Khan’s Candid Interview is Heartbreaking

Bollywood

“I’m On a Journey”: Irrfan Khan’s Candid Interview is Heartbreaking

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan died earlier this morning at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for a colon infection. The actor had been suffering a long and painful battle with a neuroendocrine tumour.

More private details about the actor’s life have largely been kept out of the media glare. But in an interview with the Associated Press in 2018, he spoke more candidly about his illness, and how it made him see “life from a totally different angle”.

“You sit down and you see the other side and that’s fascinating. I’m engaged on a journey,” the actor — known for his roles in Life of Pi, The Lunchbox, The Namesake, Hindi Medium, among some of the best titles of the previous decades — had said, when asked how he was coping with the disease.

On what he’d want people to know about his journey, he had said: “This condition has tested me, really, really tested me in all aspects — physical, emotional and spiritual. It has put me in a rapture state… But slowly, there is another way to look at things that is much more powerful and much more productive and much more healthy and I just want people to believe that nature is much more trustworthy and one must trust that.”

The actor indicated that the initial problem was that “everyone was speculating” whether he would be “out of this disease or not”. “It’s not in my hand. That’s nature that will do whatever it has to do.”

Khan, who is survived by his wife Sutapa and sons, Babil and Ayan, said that the “sudden jolt” had put him in a position from where he could “look at things in a completely different manner”.

“It sounds strange, but they (the speculators) should trust nature rather than feel sad, and trust that whatever the outcome, it will be for good and it will be for the best.”

“Life offers you so much. That’s why I feel like I have no other words but thanks.”

The actor also spoke in some detail about the numerous rounds of intensive treatment he had to endure. He was admitted to a London hospital at the time.

“I have had the fourth cycle of chemo. And I have to have six cycles and then we need to have a scan. After the third cycle, the scan was positive. But we need to see after the sixth scan. And then we’ll see where it takes me.”

But despite that, he managed to have a few positive words:

“My mind could always tell me to hang a kind of chip on your neck and say, ‘I have this disease and I could die in a few months or a year or two.’ Or I could just avoid this conversation completely and live my life the way it offers me. And it offers so much.”

“Life offers you so much. That’s why I feel like I have no other words but thanks. There are no other words, there’s no other demand, there’s no other prayer.”

With news of his death at the age of 53 devastating his millions of fans, it’s safe to say that these words will be imprinted in our memories for a long time.

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