IFFI 2023: My first football tourney was in Goa, says Babil Khan

Babil Khan, son of late legendary actor, Irrfan Khan, shares his fond Goa memory as the team of ‘The Railway Men’ share their story while chronicling the Bhopal tragedy
The young and energetic Babil Khan captivated the audience at Kala Academy in Goa.
The young and energetic Babil Khan captivated the audience at Kala Academy in Goa.Photo: KD

The third day of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) started off slowly but was soon energised by the lively and humorous presence of the young actor Babil Khan. His enthusiasm was contagious as he actively interacted with the audience.

The young actor was in Goa to participate in a masterclass titled Experience True Grit: Bringing Stories Rooted in Reality to Screen, where he discussed his latest trending series, The Railway Men.

An excited and enthusiastic Babil Khan at IFFI.
An excited and enthusiastic Babil Khan at IFFI. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Speaking on the sidelines of IFFI to GT, Khan shared a fond memory of Goa, reminiscing about his participation in a football tournament here. “My Goa memory would be when I was playing for Young Guns FC and their first football tournament was held here in Goa,” said Khan.

“Football back then was life!” he exclaimed, recalling his passion for the sport.

L to R: Swati Chopra, Divyenndu, Shiv Rawail, Tanya Bami, Babil Khan, Kay Kay Menon and Aayush Gupta during the masterclass at the 54th IFFI in Goa.
L to R: Swati Chopra, Divyenndu, Shiv Rawail, Tanya Bami, Babil Khan, Kay Kay Menon and Aayush Gupta during the masterclass at the 54th IFFI in Goa.

MASTERCLASS

The masterclass featured actors Kay Kay Menon, Divyenndu and Babil Khan along with Aayush Gupta (writer), Shiv Rawail (director) and Tanya Bami (Series, Head, Netflix) and it was moderated by Swati Chopra (journalist).

The series chronicles the sacrifices and real-life heroes of Bhopal Gas tragedy.

The young and energetic Babil Khan captivated the audience at Kala Academy in Goa.
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Director Shiv Rawail spoke about the reason behind working on this series and said that he wanted to leave the audience with a ray of hope. “On one of the darkest nights in modern history, amidst tragedy, the idea was to leave the audience with hope, that there are still people willing to sacrifice their lives,” Rawail said.

Additionally, he highlighted the fact that challenging and difficult stories are the most thrilling, as they push you to work harder and improve your skills and abilities.

The cast of 'The Railway Men' series strikes a pose at IFFI 2023 red carpet.
The cast of 'The Railway Men' series strikes a pose at IFFI 2023 red carpet. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

MAKING A STORY BELIEVABLE

Actor Kay Kay Menon, who plays the role of a station master in the series, expressed his admiration for the series and said that it is one of the most ‘believable’ projects that he has worked on.

“I am so glad that I am part of a believable project. When a story is taken from history and is converted into fiction, there is an idea that the film needs to be something that people can believe and is believable. This series is one such project for me,” Menon stated.

He also elaborated on the importance of creating a fictional narrative that resonates with viewers on a real-life level.

HUGE RESPONSIBILITY

Famed for his work in the series, Mirzapur actor Divyenndu also reflected on the challenges and responsibilities of portraying real-life stories on screen. He said, “When you are bringing real life stories to screen, it’s a huge responsibility. You have to be very careful and sensitive in your approach.”

“We shot for 30 to 40 days and nights straight,” Divyenndu recalled. “There were scenes where we had to cover our mouths with handkerchiefs, there was coughing, and a lot of action involved. It was a very intense and demanding shoot.”

Despite the challenges, Divyenndu expressed his deep respect and admiration for the real-life heroes who inspired the series. “When I was in FTII, I had a friend who had lost his father in this tragedy and when this came to me, I somehow could relate to this,” he mentioned.

The young and energetic Babil Khan captivated the audience at Kala Academy in Goa.
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THE BALANCE BETWEEN FICTION AND REAL LIFE

Aayush Gupta, the writer who crafted the story for the series, explained that he had to balance between a real-life narrative and fictional writing. He also had the responsibility of adding a dramatic touch to the story.

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