'How do we define what is correct for our children? Morality has transformed beyond recognition from the time we were growing up,' Irrfan tells Subhash K Jha.
Irrfan is obviously very proud of his two young sons.
Recently, his younger son Ayan wrote a letter to the media, inviting them for the trailer launch of his father's latest film, Madaari.
"It was my marketing team’s idea," Irrfan says proudly. "We wrote something for him but when Ayan read it, he scrapped the content and re-wrote the letter himself. Today’s kids know their minds and how to exercise their options."
Do Irrfan’s sons want to follow in their father’ footsteps?
"I am not putting any kind of pressure on my children," Irrfan answers. "They can be actors if they like or choose whichever career they want. But today’s kids either want to be a rockstar like Justin Bieber or star footballers. You see, children are exposed to international artistes. They listen to international music and imbibe a kind of cosmopolitanism in their attitude from very young, which is hard for a parent to understand, let alone control."
The biggest challenge Irrfan faces is to bring up his sons Babil and Ayan with the correct values.
"But the problem is, how do we define what is correct for our children?" he asks. "Morality has transformed beyond recognition from the time we were growing up. Today’s kids are exposed to the entire world through the internet."
"To stop the free and unstopped flow of information and knowledge is futile and unhealthy, especially in a city like Mumbai," he continues. "I have noticed parents in smaller cities like Jaipur are able to regiment and modulate their children’s lives, provide a filter to their information. But I can’t do that.”
Rather than stop his sons from gaining access to information, Irrfan has given them the freedom to choose what they would like to.
"The best I can do is to let them know what I feel is the right. The rest is up to them. Creative minds are constantly inquisitive. I can’t stop my sons for searching, asking, and seeking answers. It’s up to them to decide to use how much of what they imbibe," he says.
Photograph: Rediff Archives.