One of my most favourite lines from a song is ‘Manzil se behtar lagne lage hai yeh raaste’ (from the track ‘Aao Milo Chalen’; Jab We Met). It’s a beautiful feeling when the journey is more fulfilling than reaching the destination. And this holds true for many road trip flicks wherein we enjoy the happenings of the journey so much that we feel a bit disheartened when the characters finally reach the end of the trip.
Surprisingly, most of the actors would do such films once in a blue moon. But Irrfan Khan is an exception. In the last four years, he has appeared in three such films. Two of these – Piku and Qarib Qarib Singlle – have already released while the third flick, Karwaan, releasing on August 3. The trailer of Karwaan was unveiled yesterday and it seems like it’ll be as entertaining as the first two.
In Piku, released in 2015, Irrfan Khan essays the role of Rana Chaudhary, who runs a taxi business in Delhi. He is facing constant taunts from his mother and sister, especially over being kicked out of a job in Saudi Arabia. At work, he has got a nasty client Piku (Deepika Padukone) but he can’t shoo her away as she regularly avails of his services. When she asks for a taxi to take her and her constipated, eccentric father Bhaskor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan) to Kolkata, Rana readily agrees to entrust a car and a faithful driver. But the chauffeur, aware of Piku’s temper, doesn’t turn up on the D-day. As a result, Rana himself takes the Banerjees to the West Bengal capital, situated almost 1400 kms away. Madness ensues on the way as these three different personalities collide, bond and raise tons of laughs. Despite the towering presence of Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan maintained a strong position and contributed a lot to the entertainment quotient.
Qarib Qarib Singlle might not have been a big commercial success like Piku but it received immense appreciation thanks to its theme and of course Irrfan Khan’s performance. Here, Irrfan Khan plays the part of Yogi, a failed poet but a wealthy guy with a heart of gold. He meets Jaya (Parvathy) on a dating website and both get drawn to each other, although the latter is highly skeptical. When Yogi brags how his three ex-girlfriends still miss him a lot. Jaya refuses to believe this claim and Yogi challenges her to come with him, meet these ladies and decide for herself. Thus begins an eventful journey starting from Rishikesh, proceeding next to Alwar and finally ending in Gangtok. The journey in Piku was quite smooth when compared to the trip to Qarib Qarib Singlle. Here, Yogi misses his flight at first and later gets into the wrong train, thereby scaring the hell out of Jaya. But the journey has its delightful moments too. Although the film is majorly centered around Parvathy’s character, Irrfan Khan once again ensures that his performance gets talked about. Even Piku, as the name suggests, was more about the part essayed by Deepika Padukone. And then there was the mighty Amitabh Bachchan too. But Irrfan Khan was an indispensable part of the film and today you can’t recall Piku without recalling this marvelous actor.
And this is an excellent and rare quality about Irrfan Khan. Even Karwaan it seems is more about lead actor Dulquer Salmaan’s character. In fact, it’s due to him that the journey takes place. But going by trailer, it seems like Irrfan Khan steals the show not just from Dulquer but also from lead actress Mithila Palkar. Interestingly, all three performances of Irrfan Khan are quite quirky and in a way, in a similar space. Yet he ensures that you won’t be reminded of his similar previous performance. That’s no easy feat. Obviously, the writers and the directors also need to be credited for giving him such a great character and such witty lines. But Irrfan Khan too adds his own unique touch that takes these acts to another level.
At a time when Irrfan Khan is battling a deadly disease, one finds these performances even more endearing. Here’s hoping the actor gets well soon and gives many more such films. Because one thing is clear – road trip genre and Irrfan Khan are a deadly combination!