You will find it hard to believe, but the legendary actor and icon of Indian cinema, Irrfan Khan, was once my neighbor.
This dates back to 1992-1993, I was about 7 years old. I don’t remember much, but I vividly remember a few stories and incidents. Irrfan Khan lived with his family in a rented house on the fourth floor of Building No. 15, B-wing in the PMG colony, Andheri East, while we lived on the first floor.
The owner of the house – the Chauhan family – was our friend and had given them the accommodation for rent. Irrfan spent almost a year and a half in a small, 180 square meter one-room kitchen house. In those days, even the society we lived in only knew him as a struggling actor trying to get his luck going in movies.
He never really interacted with anyone much, but yes, he exchanged a smile or two with children. And soon he became her favorite uncle. Once he gave us a packet of balloons and the special thing was that this packet consisted of red heart-shaped balloons, which is probably common nowadays, but was not common at the time.
And as children, this was perhaps the first time that we saw such balloons. Once he got chocolates for all the children. Near Film City and Kamal Amrohi Studios in Mumbai, many famous actors may have lived in the same colony during their tough days, and Irrfan, too, moved from there to another place after being successful in films.
Even after he left, we were always proud of him when we saw all of his films or commercials.
Today, after hearing the news of his death, I had old memories when I realized that ‘our favorite uncle’ is no longer. When I spread the news that his body had reached Versova Kabrastan for the funeral and final rites, a feeling of sadness touched my heart as if I had lost part of myself.
May your soul rest in peace, Irrfan, sir!