Sutapa Sikdar, the wife of late actor Irrfan Khan recently took to Facebook to pen a lengthy post on the raging insider-outsider debate in Bollywood. Sutapa clarified that the post was not linked to Sushant Singh Rajput's death. Without taking names she addressed the self-proclaimed ‘messiah of outsiders’, and said that the jargon only works in design journals.
She started her post with a warning that the post would be very long. She then gave her own background, saying that she was from Delhi, and a Bengali not born in West Bengal. She also said she was married to a Muslim man. She said that her roots are distant from her now, but her culture is still intact. She said that there are several ticks that qualify her as an outsider, working in Bollywood.
Sutapa further said that she does not want to be patronised. "I am about myself ! I am unique! I am me! I am indian! Hence I kind of feel you the one who is pretending to be the messiah of outsiders who most probably is not even from the industry is putting me into a bracket and underlining for the whole world to see I am an outsider and also hence pity me? I don’t want your patronization. Did you ask any “outsiders “ if they want this intervention?? Or you are self appointed outsiders association of India??" she wrote.
She continued, "I eat Bhakhri listen to Marathi songs. Stop this! This inside outside theories it works only in design journals. Don’t narrow the concept of oneness if one would take the regionalism so strongly you become a frog in a small pond..because I look at many sadhus spiritualist coming from every region but finding solace in Himalayas ..who owns Himalayas ? and when they go their its them they melt to the region not the people of that region? It’s their need to go to Himalayas not those people who are inhabitants on the foothills and no one cares as its purely nirvana. Neither the seeker nor the giver."
She further wrote about Irrfan, saying how he carved his own way. "If you consider your work a spiritual quest you won’t be sad if people didn’t call you for their 'parties' or did not come for your 'premiers'. Irrfan did not get a cover page of a film magazine for many years he did not waste his time gossiping about people or bad mouthing nor did he get depress , he chiseled his craft ..and refused to be part of it till he got the cover page and he did. (he got mostly depressed not clinically but sad, looking at the disparity in the society.) or once or twice went to a brink of breakdown preparing for roles not because so called insiders did not call him for holi parties. and yes no one dared make fun of him ever on any show or any channel."
"The point is if you are unable to sustain the indifference of the power people or understand the business of film industry and you want to continue here then you need help and talking to a therapist is not equivalent to be called mad. It’s a simple thing no one owns Bollywood until or unless you think there are some people who own this industry. The Bollywood couldn’t do a s**t about Irrfan getting Hollywood offers," she added.
"Did he miss the parties as some call them imperative to attend to feel wanted and be part of the Bollywood? No he didn’t even feel to be part of vacuous stuff also without being cynical he was a great believer in individual choices. But why would he have felt left out?? May I know? In one hand we call them toxic and on the other we are offended if they don’t include you. It’s a weird desire you are yourself giving them the power by seeking for their validation.
She concluded the note on an important point. "In the end of the day you choose to be who you are no one else does it for you. So your weaknesses are yours, your fears are yours, your fight is yours. May you survive in the most dignified way because that will determine what you are made up of. Ps : please don’t remark without reading the whole post. Pss : it has nothing to do with SSR."
Irrfan passed away on April 29, 2020 after a two year-long battle with cancer. Apart from Sutapa, he is also survived by sons Babil and Ayan Khan.