The class of 2023: Babil Khan on being an 'introverted extrovert', his dating life and what's next

Babil Khan is killing it with his effortless charm!

03 February, 2023
The class of 2023: Babil Khan on being an 'introverted extrovert', his dating life and what's next

24-year-old Babil has inherent star power, owning the room with his easy charm and generous smile. Watch out, this boy is on his way to mega-stardom! 

Nandini Bhalla: At the shoot, we noticed an endearing quality about you...almost a childlike innocence…

Babil Khan: “I love being a baby. And I think no matter how old you get, you should find a way to keep your inner child alive, because it enables you to feel and view the world in a better way.” 

NB: And you share such an uncanny resemblance with your father [Irrfan Khan]. Do you hear that a lot, and how does it make you feel?

BK: “I really enjoy it and I am pretty sure I will continue enjoying it because my father is remembered with so much love and kindness... if, through me, people can feel some kind of joy, that’s really awesome for me...that’s really cool for me. I love looking like my father.” 

NB: You exude such a wonderful, joyous energy. Do you work on that in a conscious way?

BK: “I don’t take myself too seriously. And that, I think, is the key. This attitude is not something that I have consciously cultivated, it’s been a part of my upbringing...the ego isn’t considered supreme in our family. The moment you stop taking yourself too seriously, you start enjoying even the things that used to bother you. Or the moment you stop chasing success, I think you will start doing well... Of course, that doesn’t mean you stop working hard or chasing your dreams. But it’s important to not be too obsessed with the results, and just enjoy what you’re doing. 

I realised this as I started getting more became a little hard for me to not take myself more seriously, because I began wondering, ‘What if I do something that makes people reject me?’. And at this age, that fear hits you like a like a storm, because you want to be accepted and you want to feel loved. I suppose not taking yourself seriously can become a challenge as you grow up. But that’s when I try to let nature flow through me. It’s when you start thinking too much about yourself that nature ceases to flow through you.” 

NB: How do you view fame?

BK: “I have always liked connecting with people, but I am an ‘introverted extrovert’. Like, when I am alone, I just want to be alone. But when I am out, you won’t guess that I am a very shy guy. I love talking to people and having conversations with them. But I worry that when you meet a lot of people, the conversations often become how do you keep it genuine? The more attention I get, the more I hope I am able to hold on to this feeling of wanting to talk to people. I want to know what’s going on in your life, and I will tell you what’s going on in mine. On a personal level, I love attention because I have always been a lonely kid. But it’s becoming harder... Like, I went on a date yesterday, and I blew it...she doesn’t want to see me again!” 

NB: Oh no, what happened?

BK: “I couldn’t spend any time with her! We went to watch a play and people kept coming up to me to take pictures. And I was talking to them because I don’t like saying no. So at the end of the evening, I asked her whether she would like to see me again. And she said, ‘No, I barely got to see you today’. 
I guess it is what it is. When you choose this life [of cinema], you have to sacrifice some of your personal desires... On the outside, people say ‘What a life!’, but these sacrifices are hard to make because you want to spend moments with yourself and with the people you care about.” 

NB: Did you always know you would be an actor?

BK: “No, but Baba always knew because I was always performing...I’d pick up a tennis racket and start playing it like a guitar. During the shooting of The Namesake [2007], I would gather the kids and start performing. My father knew that life was taking me in that direction but, I think deep inside, he didn’t want me to be an actor because of how it affects your sensitivity. You have to become strong, and that can harden you. And I think that halts your evolution. Because your ability to show weakness is your greatest strength. So, I think my father unconsciously tried to keep me away from pursuing cinema. But when I went to study film at the University of Westminster, London, he realised it was destined. Something within just drove me in that direction.” 


NB: Are you an overthinker? 

BK: “Sometimes, but at other times, I will just go with the flow. The extremities of my behaviour have sometimes gotten me into trouble. I don’t think I’m a philosopher, but I would like to understand what I am doing here. Why am I here? And I know that I will never have the answer, because I don’t think anybody is meant to. I think we are just meant to be born and live and experience things for what they are, rather than try to find meaning. And that is the journey, right? You spend your entire life trying to find meaning and you realise that there was no point in it. The entire point was to live. And you were stressed about why you were living.” 

NB: How do you fill your creative well?

BK: “Every morning, rather than waking up and checking my phone, I like to sit with my feelings and let them guide me in terms of creation. For instance, if I am feeling low, I ask, ‘How do I want to express this?’ Is it through writing? Or through a song? By practising a scene or doing a monologue? Or is it through painting or drawing something? Or through reading a book? Just sit with your feelings and let them guide you. I leave analysing the mind for later.” 

NB: How would the people closest to you describe you? 

BK: “Moody, very moody because that is one of the drawbacks of letting your feelings guide you. One day, I will come out of the room and show so much love, and the other, my door will be locked for the entire day. That’s the thing: finding balance and staying true to the artist within is a tough one. Sometimes, I don’t want to meet my social commitments but they are necessary for one’s professional life to work. And if your professional life doesn’t work, then the artist doesn’t get to express.” 

NB: What are you keenly looking forward to? What do you hope will happen next in your career? 

BK: “I want to do a love story, because I am a hopeless romantic. And now that I have made sacrifices in my personal life, I need some way to express those emotions. It is beautiful how life pushes you in a direction where you are forced to express who you are through your art. So now that I can’t do it in my personal life, I would like to express it in my art, my craft.” 

NB: And do you watch many movies, especially love stories? 

BK: “It is so strange how when you’re studying cinema, or before you enter the industry, you watch so much cinema. And the moment you actually start working in cinema, the inclination towards watching movies becomes lesser and lesser. I have been reflecting upon this. And I think I have to create a schedule where I dedicate specific times to watching cinema, singing, writing songs, figuring out my vulnerabilities... You cannot just say, ‘I will do it, we will see it tomorrow...’ You have to make it happen because professional work cannot completely dominate your calendar. Your self-reflection has to be taken as importantly as you work. By the way, the last love story I watched was The Notebook [2004]...but I only watched it two months ago!”

Photographs: Arjun Mark 
Photography Assistant: Gopi Krish 
Styling: Zunaili Malik 
Styling Assistant: Jaishree Chhabra
Babil's Make-up: Mahima Wachher Salvi 
Babil's Hair: Swapnil 
Production: April Studios 

On Babil: 83-C Track Top, Essentials Tee, 83-C Track Pants, Stan Smith Recon Shoes, and socks, all adidas Originals Stan Smith Styled With Blue Version Collection