'You always knew that you were special, that you had something that must be cherished, nourished and not fritted away.'
'That's what you gave us, in each of your roles.'
Mira Nair says it is 'virtually impossible' to talk about Irrfan Khan in the past tense as the actor was alive for everything in life.
During the digital home-to-home fundraiser concert, I For India, which streamed on Facebook on Sunday evening, Mira Nair, who directed Irrfan's debut Salaam Bombay and The Namesake, paid tribute to the actor.
'To speak of Irrfan Khan in the past tense is virtually impossible, because Irrfan was always alive. He was alive to life, whimsy, friendship, alive to the street child,' Nair said.
'Irrfan was one of the most beautiful listeners I have ever known. He listened beautifully and harnessed it into his art,' she said.
The film-maker said the best part about Irrfan was that in his work, there was never a repetition, 'never something that you had seen before'.
'There was always this inimitable honesty and this twinkle, this knowing sense that he had seen through it. He was bringing it to you with nothing that covered the purity of the intent,' she said.
'I will miss you so much Irrfan, but you have left an extraordinary legacy of work because you always knew that you were special, that you had something that must be cherished, nourished and not fritted away. That's what you gave us, in each of your roles,' Nair said.
With Irrfan's passing, Nair said she will look forward to everything and everyone who were influenced by him.
'You have left an inspired group of extraordinary actors across the subcontinent who looked to you, your flame is still in them. That is my only succour as I keep going in a world without Irrfan, in a cinema without Irrfan, but thank you.'
'There are no words for what you have given us.'