Warmth is the first word that comes to mind when you meet Babil Khan, Irrfan Khan’s elder son. Almost a spitting image of his maverick father, Babil is adorable in his innocence and only in his 20s, he is wise beyond his years. The Telegraph met him in Mumbai on the sidelines of Lakme Fashion Week in partnership with FDCI where the Qala actor made his debut on the ramp for fashion designer Pawan Sachdeva.
How excited or nervous are you?
I am both nervous and excited, but I am excited because I am walking for Pawan (Sachdeva). He’s got that youth connect factor. His clothes have always resonated with me, Baba (Irrfan Khan) also wore them. Our gut feelings matched. It is a really cool jacket with a beautiful fall.
What is your fashion like?
I don’t have a particular style. I flow. I wear whatever I am feeling. If you see the clothes I normally wear, there is no decision-making. It’s just a feeling and instinct.
What do you like wearing?
I am very much into shirts, jackets and baggy pants. I don’t have a preference. If you give me clothes, I’ll put them on. If they fall on me, they fall on me and usually they fall on me and I just go with it.
So, you are experimental?
I am very experimental and I have no hold-backs. I will be your muse for whatever...
What are the experimental things you have worn so far?
I wore a dress for one of the award ceremonies. I love gender-fluid fashion because I am a big believer in cosmic duality, like you and I, a part of yin and yang... like we have two energies... they are polar opposite energies and they function together to create you. That’s the motivation why I chose that for the award ceremony. Then for GQ, I wore a dress and that was a really feminine dress. I think men can pull off female clothes and women can pull off male clothes very well.
So, you have a feminine side to you?
Yeah yeah... everybody does. You have a male side to you and every man has a feminine side to them and what creates toxic masculinity is rejecting that side in you. I think you have to accept the female in you and that’s very important. To be a man, you have to accept the woman in you.
How would you describe the feminine and the man in you? What are the qualities?
I think it’s energy. I am gentle, soft... when I try to choose to be one that’s when I lose it. I have to amalgamate the energies and create one energy and that’s who I am. I don’t know how to describe one side.
That’s a very deep take on life. Who has shaped your thoughts?
(Smiles) My upbringing. If I am very honest, it’s my parents, bringing in the right influences at the right time. Say religion. It was never a belief system in our family. It was always something to study and explore to enrich yourself with rather than create animosity inside you, within you. It was something that was used to evolve.
I read all religions. I was never brought up as a Muslim. I was always brought up as a human being. You are alive and that’s that. You are an explorer. Baba made me read everything. Quran came late in my life. I first read the Bhagavad Gita and The Bible. I have also read a little bit of the Guru Granth Sahib. That’s how I was brought up.
I was brought up secluded, away from everything... industry toh definitely. For tuition, I used to take a BEST bus, then I used to get on a jetty and then take a rickshaw (laughs).
Are you enjoying the spotlight?
I’ll be honest (laughs)... it’s very new to me. I don’t know how to do this (laughs). I would watch Baba been taken away from me because of this spotlight, the people and the fame and I guess, maybe the child in me that’s why wanted to achieve that. But now, thoda bahut spotlight se hi I get a little like.... (Laughs). I feel it’s a great opportunity to have reach. Then you have the power to create an impact and initiate some kind of evolution in spaces. That is what is important for me. It’s not the personal satisfaction of fame because there is none. It’s a myth. At least I think so. Your privacy is so important. It looks so good from outside... dekho kitna attention... but that attention is not real. Fame is not actually real.
How are you so wise?
I am not! I am not! I swear! (Laughs) I am just figuring it out.
Finally, whose style do you like?
Right now, I am fixated on Harry Styles, but mamma (Sutapa Sikdar) is my one and only woman. She is my queen and she is the inspiration for all my styles.