Late actor Irrfan Khan’s son Babil Khan recently posted a long message on Instagram about Bollywood. In the post, Babil went in length to describe the piteous state of Indian Cinema in the world stage. Studying in a London Film School, Babil has gone through several incidents where Indian cinema was made fun of by his classmates. He shared one of the most important lessons that his father had taught him about cinema. Irrfan Khan had once warned him that he’ll have to prove his worth out there as Indian Cinema is not respected by many people. The ‘Life of Pi’ actor, Irrfan Khan was fighting a fierce battle against cancer and passed away on 29 April 2020.
“Bollywood was not respected, no awareness of 90’s Indian cinema, or credibility of opinion” Babil shared about his experience at film school. He went on to add how he was not allowed to give a credible opinion on anything because people thought Indian cinema has no scope for improvement. Indian cinema is not represented properly in Global universities and the curriculum of film schools across the world doesn’t even acknowledge Indian cinema. “There was just a single lecture in the world cinema segment about Indian cinema called ‘Bollywood and beyond’, that too gone through in a class full of chuckles,” Babil wrote in his Instagram post.
Babil Khan blamed the Indian audience for their lack of taste in quality cinema. “It was tough to even get a sensible conversation about the real Indian cinema of Satyajit Ray and K. Asif. You know why? Because we, as the Indian audience, refused to evolve” He said. The preference of mainstream Bollywood movies to the offbeat cinema by the Indian audience has been the topic of discussion among many people. Sadly, the Indian audience is yet to accept any form of cinema that’s different from regular commercial movies.
Irrfan Khan was known for his unique and rare movies in which he portrayed his character with impeccable flair. Remembering his father’s strive for perfection, Babil said that his father had worked hard to revive the Indian cinema and infuse some freshness into it. But, the box office always failed him. In a heartfelt sentence, he wrote “My father gave his life trying to elevate the art of acting but, was defeated at the box office by hunks with Six-pack abs who deliver theatrical one-liners and defy the laws of physics.” This was a direct comment on the mainstream Bollywood actors who focus on looking good on the screen and feature in photoshopped item songs.
He also blamed the audience for being unaccepting of any shift in perception that would break their delicate illusion of reality. “All efforts to explore the potential of cinema and its implications on humanity and existentialism were at best kept by the sidelines,” shared Babil.
Presently pursuing a degree in cinematography, Babil Khan wishes to follow his father’s footsteps and make a mark on Indian cinema. The young and talented Babil debuted as a camera assistant in the Bollywood movie, ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’ in which his father had played the protagonist.