An ode to Irrfan, in a Mumbai alley – art and culture

About two days back, the late actor Irrfan Khan’s elder son Babil Khan shared a story on his social media — it was a large mural of his father donning the bylanes of Waroda Road in Bandra. The mural is made by Ranjit Dahiya, a 42-year-old artist based in Mumbai. “I liked him a lot, and his death was very unfortunate. I have made many murals of Bollywood actors in different parts of Mumbai so I thought why not give Irrfan a tribute too,” says Dahiya, founder of Bollywood Art Project, a collective of street artists.

The artwork is mixed in colours of black, white and yellow, and is a close-up shot of the late actor. Dahiya, who started painting the mural on the day Irrfan passed away, says, “I was very sad. We lost one of Bollywood’s gems. The idea to make his mural came from my heart.”

The mural of Irrfan Khan made by Ranjit Dahiya at Waroda Road, Bandra, Mumbai

The mural of Irrfan Khan made by Ranjit Dahiya at Waroda Road, Bandra, Mumbai
Photo: Ranjit Dahiya

When asked if there were any restrictions while painting the mural as Mumbai continues to battle Covid-19, he says, “We took all the necessary precautions. I was helped by a friend. Him and I, both maintained social distance while painting, and tried not to speak to anyone who passed us by on the road.”

Dahiya, originally from Sonepat, Haryana, and a graduate of the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, came to Mumbai years ago for a job. “Before going to college though, I used to paint slogans on the streets and did a lot of whitewash related odd jobs. I guess that taught me how to make large size murals.”

Just adjacent to Waroda Road is Chapel Road which is adorned with murals of the late actors Sridevi and Madhubala, which too were Dahiya’s way of paying respect to them. Dahiya now plans to paint a Rishi Kapoor mural. He says, “He too was one of my favourite actors. I grew up watching his films. We are looking for a wall and we are also looking for people who can help us with purchasing paints and leathers as this is a financially difficult time for us artists.”

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