Indian actor Irrfan Khan is not a traditionalist when it comes to dating apps.
He says it’s reductive to call Tinder the McDonald’s for physical relationships.
But why are we talking about dating and finding the perfect mate?
Take your time to commit. You should never be in a hurry and the most important thing is that when two people come together, they should make the other person evolve consciously or unconsciously. Otherwise, there’s no meaning,”
- Irrfan Khan, when asked about his advice to all the single men and women out there
The actor, 50, will be seen in director Tanuja Chandra’s latest romantic comedy, Qarib Qarib Singlle, releasing on November 9 in UAE cinemas.
Khan plays the flamboyant, over-confident single guy Yogi, who meets Jaya, played by Malayali actress Parvathy, through an online dating service. Together they embark on a journey of self-discovery as they re-visit their old relationships, which takes them to the spiritually-charged Indian city, Rishikesh.
“Everyone will have this aspiration for that perfect relationship. But as far as Tinder or such facilities are concerned, it’s great that people are allowed to explore. In the past, they didn’t have such avenues,” Khan told Gulf News tabloid! over the phone.
Khan, who has impressed us in films including the social satire Hindi Medium, the father-daughter comedy Piku and the Indian immigrant saga The Namesake, believes that experimenting is not a crime in the world of courtship. In fact, it could be a catalyst in finding the right one, says the actor.
“Those who are interested in a short-term relationships, they should pursue it. Why should we have a judgement over that?... It is one’s personal choice. You don’t have to always marry to get into a relationship. It is completely their choice. If a girl wants to have a one-night stand, then they should have a one-night stand. What is wrong with it?” said Khan.
Khan’s Qarib Qarib Singlle character is an eccentric guy who believes that he is a hit with women and is delusional about his own charming ways with them.
“The main concern for us was to get away from the formula [of love stories] which we have been watching in Hindi cinema. As far as this romantic comedy is concerned, it is not a formula film. Jaya and Yogi make an odd couple and therefore we are more relatable. Yogi has his own peculiarities. He thinks that he’s easy and smooth and that every girl will fall for him. But the reality is something else,” said Khan.
The romance will also attempt to re-define what constitutes a good relationship.
Arranged marriages, a practice that sees family elders or parents picking a spouse for individuals, may not fly anymore.
“I don’t think there is any right or wrong here. But you have to keep in mind that families now are getting singular. Arranged marriages worked because we had a lot of padding in a joint family where the relationship between the couple was just one of the factors. Now there’s no such padding,” said Khan.
He adds that there was a time when getting married was the natural result of a growing relationship, but such definitions of happy endings aren’t valid anymore.
“It might be disastrous… Sometimes people don’t commit to each other for the right reasons. There’s nothing worse than that,” said Khan, who got married to his National School of Drama graduate Sutapa Sikdar, with whom he has two sons.
“The feeling of commitment comes from within. When you are drawn to somebody and there will be a need inside for you to want to commit. That is the real deal. Something from inside tells you to do it,” said Khan. But navigating relationships wasn’t always easy for the actor.
Ask about his most dominant memory of being single, Khan — who has also crossed over to the West successful with acclaimed films such as Life of Pi and Jurassic Park — recalls the pressure that couples in his day faced.
“When I was in drama school, there was a pressure to commit by my girlfriend or their families. I think I was not ready to commit at that time... But this film deals with people who are habituated to living alone [and] what happens when two such people come together after a long time in their lives,” said Khan.
However, playing Yogi wasn’t easy for Khan. It took time for him to find the groove of the character who wasn’t instantly relatable to the actor himself.
“The way Yogi deals with his past is very inspirational. He celebrates it… sometimes, [the] past can be a trigger point to feel bitter or biased about certain things. But Yogi will teach you how to deal with your past gracefully. This film is targeted at all the young people and families who are seeking something out of relationships,” Khan says.
Don’t miss it!
Qarib Qarib Singlle releases in the UAE on November 9.