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Exclusive! Shashank Arora on Irrfan Khan: ‘Working with him in his last film was a special experience’

Shashank Arora plays a pivotal role in the late Irrfan Khan’s last film, The Song Of Scorpions

Exclusive! Shashank Arora on Irrfan Khan: ‘Working with him in his last film was a special experience’
Shashank Arora

Last Updated: 07.18 PM, May 03, 2023


Actor Shashank Arora - who worked with the late Irrfan Khan in his last film, The Song Of Scorpions, directed by Anup Singh - recalls some of his best memories of shooting with his “favourite star”, while also decoding one of the important scenes of the film.

Set in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, the story of The Song Of Scorpions revolves around a tribal woman, her ability to heal following an ancient technique and a series of events that turn her life upside down.

Recalling one of the crucial scenes of the film that brings a twist to the tale, Shashank who played Munna, told OTTplay, “That scene was shot late at night and it was very cold in Jaisalmer. Both of us, Irrfan and I, were almost shivering. It was a very memorable day of our shooting. I remember there were a few lines in the scene. He did not say all the lines, but improved upon it a bit. I spoke a few lines and then we started singing. As a colleague, I felt so close to Irrfan during the shoot. I remember he used to listen to music and would always put his headphones on and keep his eyes closed. He once told me, ‘shot se pehle mujhe ungli se tap karke bulana’. I think he was also going through some physical discomfort at that time. I have a vivid memory of him and I hold it very close to my heart. We were shooting in the desert, but what could have been more special than getting stuck in a place with some of the finest actors like Waheeda Rehman and Irrfan!”

As Shashank played a Rajasthani villager in the film, he had to learn the local dialect, which he said was not easy to follow. But this was not the first time that the actor had to work hard on the local dialect to bring a certain amount of authenticity to the character he played. In the recent past, he also learned the Kashmiri language for the SonyLIV web series, Tanaav.

“I used to have long chats with our director to understand how much to do. I think I cannot really speak in that Rajasthani dialect now, even if someone asks me to do so. But somehow, I managed it back then. I do not even speak Hindi like that. Also, what helped me was my interaction with our local driver there, who used to speak in that dialect. So, I would listen to him very carefully. I think when we are shooting in a real location, whether it is in Kashmir or in Rajasthan, listening to the locals and picking up the accent becomes easier than shooting inside a film city where we create the world. I think language is one of the most beautiful elements of our country that shows its diversity. I wish to play different characters from every region and speak their dialect. Even that idea makes me feel excited,” Shashank said. 

The Song of Scorpions also features Golshifteh Farahani, Sara Arjun and Shefali Bhushan, among others. The film is currently running in the theatres.

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