Irrfan Khan 1967-2020: Bollywood Loses An Artiste

Mumbai: Actors like Irrfan Khan are not born everyday. They are God’s gift to mankind. He acted with such ease, almost nonchalantly. Whether it was Paan Singh Tomar, Piku, Hindi Medium or Maqbool, he enacted each role with unparalleled ease leaving the audience convinced that what they are watching is real, no acting. He treated us to his craft till the very end with Angrezi Medium. 

Fifty three was a very small age for such a rare talent to come to an end. He fought valiantly and with dignity since 2018 and breathed his last at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

Irrfan belonged to Tonk near Jaipur. His mother, Saeeda Begum who died a few days ago, had a royal lineage, while his father was an ordinary man. Eldest of three siblings, Irrfan joined National School of Drama after his father’s death. 

He began his career on television in serials like Chanakya, Bharat Ek Khoj, Banegi Apni Baat and Chandrakanta (being the most famous).

On the big screen, we first saw him in Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay in 1988 in a miniscule role. He worked with her again in the critically acclaimed The Namesake in 2006 and for the director’s segment in New York, I Love You.

His subtle, understated and lifelike performance in The Namesake did not go unnoticed. From then on, Irrfan went on from playing character roles to headlining films and also became India’s most celebrated face in the West doing Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire. Danny Boyle called his Slumdog Millionaire performance “beautiful to watch”, while the celebrated critic Roger Ebert noted his ‘subtle, engrossing work’ in The Namesake.

Among his well-known films were the Academy Award nominated Salaam Bombay!, Maqbool (2004), Paan Singh Tomar (2011), The Lunchbox (2013), Haider (2014), Gunday (2014), Piku (2015) and Talvar (2015) and Hindi Medium (2017).

He had also received Padma Shri in 2011, Filmfare Awards and various international awards for his acting prowess.

Some time before the release of his last film Angrezi Medium, the actor had shared an empowering video message for his fans, stating that the only choice he had was to remain positive. “One doesn’t have any other choice but to remain positive. Whether you are able to make lemonade in such situations is entirely up to you. We’ve made this film with the same sort of positivity. I hope this film is able to make you laugh and cry in equal measure.”

Perhaps his most endearing message was for his dear wife Sutpa Sikdar. “She has stood by me like a rock and if I were to live, it would be only because of her.”

RIP Irrfan

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