One of the finest actors in the country, Irrfan Khan died at the age of 53. On Tuesday, he was admitted to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in Mumbai with a colon infection. Irrfan’s career spanned three decades, during which he enjoyed considerable success in both Bollywood and Hollywood. In 2011, he was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of arts.
Irrfan made his screen debut with the film ‘Salaam Bombay!’ in 1988. Following this, he got small roles in movies and TV shows such as ‘Bharat EkKhoj’ and ‘Chandrakanta’. With movies such as ‘Haasil’, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Life in a Metro’, his career established as one of the best character actors in Bollywood. The acclaim of his work reached Hollywood and he worked in movies such as Oscar-winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘Life of Pi’, ‘The Namesake’, ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’.
Let’s look at some of the best movies of this Bollywood maestro:
Up until this point,Irrfan had mostly played villains and supporting roles in movies.In Maqbool, he was given the lead role. In a cast, which included brilliant actors like Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur and Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan’s performance shone through as he proved that he is one of the most talented actors of the country. The movie brought him accolades, awards and appreciation, which he richly deserved.
Irrfan plays one of the most conniving villains ever brought on the silver screen. His character Ranvijay befriends and empathises with a hot-headed college boy, only to later cheat him and marry his girlfriend. Irrfan shines in all the shades of his character, be it a friend and philosopher or an abductor and a murderer,thus displaying his mastery over the craft, and the range of roles he can play.
Paan Singh Tomar (2012)
‘Paan Singh Tomar’ remains to this day the best biopic of Bollywood and that is due to the amazing performance by Irrfan. Khan trained hard with steeplechase coaches and even broke his ankle at one point while preparing for the role. He later referred to it as the most physically and mentally demanding role of his career. The movie received rave reviews with New York Times especially praising Irrfan’s performance saying, “Without romanticizing Paan Singh Tomar, he shows his basic honesty and gives him real depth. As an actor, Mr. Khan rarely does the expected. You can’t take your eyes off him.
The Lunchbox (2013)
Irrfan plays the role of Saajan Fernandez, a middle-aged, efficient government official. Even though the character is a common man, Khan’s performance won the hearts of the audience. It was his highestgrossing Hindi film until Hindi Medium (2017) and was India’s third highest grossing movie overseas of 2013 following Dhoom 3 and Chennai Express. The movie got global acclaim and was nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language Category of the British Academy Film Awards 2015.
The Namesake (2006)
Before doing big Hollywood projects like Life of Pi and Jurassic World, it was in this movie that Irrfan charmed the west with his craft. It was one of his earlier English language films, which brought him to notice of Hollywood. Irrfan plays Ashoke Ganguli, a Bengali who moves to the United States with his wife and children. He immerses himself in the role and becomes the character, underlying the struggles of first-generation immigrants.
Irrfan Khan may no longer be with us, but he has left a legacy of stellar performances and work, which will always be cherished and remembered. May his soul rest in peace!