Director Anand Gandhi Says He Wished To Cast Irrfan Khan In His Upcoming Film 'Emergence'

Shubanka Sridhar , 13 May 2020
Anand Gandhi; Irrfan Khan (Source: Instagram | @irrfan)
Anand Gandhi; Irrfan Khan (Source: Instagram | @irrfan)

With COVID-19 ruling over the entire world right now, it won’t come as a surprise if we find filmmakers and artists use this situation as inspiration for their work. But what if someone already had this seed of thought even before we were afflicted by this pandemic? Yes, Anand Gandhi is one such director who has been working on a science fiction story about a novel pandemic.

Titled Emergence, the film has been in development for the last five years. The story follows four scientists, as they race against a deadly pandemic to save the world from devastation. Now, this has turned out to be eerily prophetic considering our current situation outside owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But because of this fact, Anand has been making some revisions to his screenplay. The Tumbbad director elaborates:

[Earlier] we had planned to give information about the nature of a pandemic [through the film]. Now that we all know what it’s like to be in the midst of one, I don’t have to educate the audience about its nuances. So, we have had to make some changes in the script. I can directly take the audience to the understanding of host behaviour manipulation of a parasite. The idea that our microbiome informs our behaviour is better understood now than ever before. I want to use a pandemic setting as a deeper investigation into the nature of human identity and social behaviour

Anand had earlier expressed his desire to cast Irrfan Khan in the film. Due to the untimely demise of the legendary actor, Gandhi now has plans of approaching Sushant Singh Rajput.

He says:

It’s unfortunate that I took so long to write it. I wish Irrfan could have been a part of it. Sushant is a dear friend, and I always work on the assumption that he will be part of what I create. I also have Australian actor Hugo Weaving in mind. Most importantly, I also need four women actors for the principal cast.

He even took to his Instagram after Irrfan’s demise to release a video of the actor in conversation with other entrepreneurs as part of Anand’s film project.

Have a look:

View this post on Instagram

I have been recording conversations between scientists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and artists as a part of a continuing film project. In 2015, ideas curator Lakshmi Pratury brought great change-makers together for the INK Talks conference in Mumbai. In the hotel lobby, I paired people who didn’t know each other, together, for candid freewheeling conversations. I offered them only three cues – the self, the ecosystem, and the future of humans. In one such exchange, actor Irrfan and entrepreneurs Asha Jadeja, Sunny Singh, and Anu Aga shared insights with each other. While this is yet to be edited for the final film, the following raw edit is being released as a tribute to the great actor as I remember him – a vast, compassionate, rational, and graceful seeker of truth. —- Irrfan – A Tribute by Anand Gandhi (Excerpt from a work-in-progress production, produced by Zain Memon, directed by Anand Gandhi for Memesys Studios Shot on location at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, in collaboration with INK Talks Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this work are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author and his affiliates.) (Music from film Ship of Theseus, produced by Sohum Shah, directed by Anand Gandhi, composed by Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor, used under Creative Commons License) #Irrfan #IrrfanKhan #Tribute #Death #Cinema #Actor #Spirituality #Science #Evolution #LifeLessons #AshaJadeja #SunnySingh #AnuAga #AnandGandhi #Film #Bollywood #Life #BlueSky #questions

A post shared by Anand Gandhi (@memewala) on

Initially set in 2020, the director has now decided to unfold the story in 2025. Emergence is set to go on floor next year.

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