Babil Khan says he was grappling with the loss of his father, actor Irrfan Khan when he started working on the Netflix show The Railway Men and credits his co-star Kay Kay Menon for creating an environment where he felt a sense of belonging. During a press conference at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) on Wednesday evening, the actor revealed he had started working on the series about seven-eight months after his father’s death. Irrfan, a highly acclaimed and internationally renowned actor, died in April 2020 after a battle with a rare form of cancer.
Babil, who made his debut with the Netflix movie “Qala” and also starred in the streamer’s recent release “Friday Night Plan,” said he found solace on the set of “The Railway Men”.
“When I was working with Kay Kay sir on this series, I was going through a huge loss. I had lost my best friend and father in one day. It was seven or eight months before we started shooting for this,” the young actor told PTI here.
“When I would arrive on the set, that was the only time I felt like I belonged anywhere. When I was working with Kay Kay sir, that was the only time in that period of my life when I felt like I belonged. I think, to make a human being believe that they belong is the greatest gift you can give to them,” he added.
Menon, a contemporary of Irrfan and co-star of critically acclaimed titles like Haider and Life in a… Metro, praised Babil and said the upcoming actor possesses qualities that will take him to “great heights”.
“Babil is an individual in himself, and he has something that will take him to great heights. Once you have seen the series, you will realise that. For him, to preserve and maintain that spark of Irrfan is his journey.
“And that’s what I felt about him since I worked so closely with him. He is a man of the heart, and he will go a long way,” the star said.
The Railway Men, the first series from Yash Raj Films’ digital arm YRF Entertainment, directed by debutant Shiv Rawail, has received rave reviews since its premiere on Netflix last week.
Set against the backdrop of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy, the show pays tribute to the unsung heroes, the Indian railway employees posted at Bhopal station, who saved hundreds of innocent lives during that fateful night. It also stars R Madhavan and Divyenndu.
In the initial phase of his career, Menon said he had worked on a story about the industrial disaster – in 1999’s “Bhopal Express” – but what made him take up the series was the fact that it highlighted the sacrifices of the railway employees.
“What drew me to this script was the banner of The Railway Men, which was unique as far as the series is concerned. This script gave space to those heroes who are unknown,” he added. The actor believes people tend to “underestimate” the Indian Railways.
“We sit in a train and take them for granted, not knowing that it is a high-risk job that they are doing. It is very easy to pass snide remarks, but it is a high precision and high-risk job. Their job is not just to take you from A to B but to take you there safely. So, it’s an added responsibility,” Menon said.
“So for me, when I chose to do this series, it was my homage to this particular organisation (Indian Railways) that we all take for granted, especially those railway men who sacrificed themselves to save people on that fateful night,” he added. IFFI will conclude on November 28.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)