Deepak Dobriyal and late actor Irrfan Khan shared screen space in many films like Charas, Maqbool and Hindi Medium. Their last collaboration was the 2019 film Angrezi Medium which unfortunately turned out to be Irrfan's swansong. Khan passed away on April 29, 2020 due to colon infection after battling neuroendocrine tumour for two years.
After putting a brave fight against cancer in London, Irrfan had returned back to India and shot for Angrezi Medium which released in theatres in March 2020.
On Irrfan's first death anniversary today (April 29, 2021), his frequent collaborator Deepak Dobriyal spoke at length about the late actor. He said that he was hopeful Irrfan would recover because of the way he smiled, despite his disease.
When asked if there was any change in Irrfan both, personally and professionally, after his cancer diagnosis while shooting for Angrezi Medium, Deepak told indianexpress.com, "He had the strength to keep his personal feelings and struggle under the lid and let the emotions of his Angrezi Medium character hold sway. It's impossible for any actor to hold on this long at such a painful juncture. He projected it like a stretched viral disease so that people didn't get tensed on set. Our director Homi Adajania and producer Dinesh Vijan had kept 2-3 hours post lunch, just for his rest. We didn't shoot at that time. But Irrfan bhai used to have his meal and be back in 15 minutes to continue shooting. He was that enthusiastic."
Deepak said that he saw Irrfan at his vulnerable only once on the sets of Angrezi Medium. The actor recalled, "Only once I saw him getting weak on Angrezi Medium set. For the remaining 70 days he was fine. We spoke about his main surgery, and I asked if we could get rid of the tumour by any other method which was non-surgical. He said he's tired of going through the pain again and again. Like a child, he either wanted things to be this way or that way. He never knew how to take the middle path. You can say he was getting irritated with his treatment. He just wanted the tumour to be removed."
He continued, "I'm sure he realised that his health was deteriorating in the last few days. He got hundreds of messages everyday, and the formality of even replying to a message takes a lot of your energy. So, he tried to avoid formalities. He said he has thousands who love him. After a point I accepted that I'll connect with him only when he feels like."
In the same interview, the Tanu Weds Manu actor also recalled his last meeting with Irrfan and was quoted as saying, "Our last meeting was in London. With Irrfan bhai, there are things I can't put in words, or maybe if I make a biopic someday, I'll write. If there was no Covid, Andheri would've jammed the day Irrfan bhai passed away."
Well, Irrfan's death has left a huge void in the hearts of his near and dear ones and fans!