Before he was diagnosed with cancer, Irrfan had confirmed to star in two projects. First was Vishal Bhardwaj-directed drama with Deepika Padukone, the other was the Amazon Prime series Gormint created by the comedy collective AIB. Irrfan had already begun shooting for the show in late 2017. It was during this period that he discovered his illness for which he is currently receiving treatment in London. While Bhardwaj has stated that he will wait for the actor to recover, Irrfan has decided to walk away from the political satire “on the basis of recent developments”.
Describing it as “one of my favourite ongoing projects” and one that he had a “ballistic time” shooting, Khan said, “With a heavy heart I would like to say that due to this ongoing situation, I will not be able to fulfil my acting commitment to the show”.
Added Irrfan, “I am gutted by this development because the character and the show thrilled me, and I even lived the character for several months before having to cut the journey short. But after extensive discussions, workarounds and sincere efforts by everyone involved, the situation prevents me from being able to do the show entirely. And thus I must, at this time, exit stage left.”
Irrfan concluded by wishing the AIB and Amazon Prime team well and thanked them for “their support and understanding” in what’s a difficult time for the actor and his family. “I still remain excited to see the final product and have complete faith in the creative team to deliver something that is unique and unseen in the Indian satire space so far”.
At this year’s India Today Conclave in Mumbai, AIB members Tanmay Bhat and Rohan Joshi had revealed that the show was about “a jaded movie star who unwittingly becomes part of the Cabinet” in this case the Ministry of Culture. While talking about the budgets they were generously bestowed by Amazon Prime to make the show, Bhat said that executives in Los Angeles encouraged them to “do what the story asks for, and we are all taken a back after that and we are like aur paisa mangna chahiye tha. (We should have asked more money)” Interestingly, the show’s title is inspired by Pakistani lady who became an internet sensation for hurling expletives and declaring “Bik gayi hai Gormint”.
Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video, India, said, “Irrfan Khan, actor extraordinaire and star of Amazon Prime Original Series, ‘Gormint’ (formerly known as ‘Ministry’) today announced the joint decision by the creators and him to no longer be cast in the show owing to his health situation. Amazon Prime Video, along with the show’s creators and cast, are deeply saddened by this news. Irrfan has been – and will continue to remain a part of the Amazon family. We wish him a speedy and successful recovery and look forward to watching the show with him sitting right next to us.”