Trivia Journey Of Irrfan’s Top Movies

His full name was Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan but he preferred to be called simply Irrfan. Originally from Tonk district in Rajasthan, Irrfan was a budding cricketer who was selected for the U-23 C K Nayudu tournament but he not having a mere Rs 600 prevented him from joining the team. He himself said it was difficult to ask someone for Rs 600. Later he needed Rs 300 to join the National School of Drama and his sister arranged it for him. Leaving cricket was a conscious decision since as he himself said: “Only 11 can play for the country but actors mein koi limit nahin hoti hai.”

Cricket’s loss was the film world’s gain. Irrfan not only joined movies but became one of the greatest actors of all time. His hallmark: he was intense in every character he played, yet he did it effortlessly. Sadly on Wednesday, Irrfan moved on when just 53. He had been admitted at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai for colon infection after recovering from a neuroendocrine tumour. Sadly, just 4 days earlier, his mother too had passed away at Jaipur, and due to lockdown restrictions, he had been unable to travel and therefore attended her funeral through video-call. Little was it known that just 3 days later, Irrfan too would be admitted to hospital and would breathe his last just a day after.
Let us go on a trivia journey of a few of his top movies.

‘Haasil’, released in 2003, was Irrfan’s breakthrough movie. He won the Filmfare Award for best negative role. This was Tigmanshu Dhulia’s first directorial venture and he and Irrfan would form a partnership for many other ventures such as ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ and ‘Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns’. ‘Haasil’ was on student politics and the movie has achieved cult status. Reportedly, Manoj Bajpayee had been offered the role but it finally went to Irrfan and he performed spectacularly.

‘Maqbool’ was the first of director Vishal Bharadwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy. While ‘Maqbool’ was Vishal’s interpretation of Macbeth, ‘Omkara’ was his version of Othello and ‘Haider’ was his interpretation of Hamlet. Irrfan played Miyan Maqbool (Macbeth), who is in love with Nimmi (Tabu playing Lady Macbeth) who is married to Jahangir Khan (Pankaj Kapoor playing King Duncan). It is destiny that Irrfan played the role of Maqbool since initially Akshay Kumar and then Randeep Hooda was supposed to play it. There is a Manoj Bajpayee connection here as well. When Manoj heard that Akshay was not doing it and Randeep had date issues, he approached Vishal but Vishal told him that Irrfan had already signed.

Vishal produced and directed ‘Haider’ and Irrfan had an extended special appearance in this movie starring Shahid, Tabu and Kay Kay. Irrfan plays Roohdaar and his powerful cameo was very much appreciated. Interestingly, there is a Manoj Bajpayee connection here too; he was not supposed to play the role that went to Irrfan but to Kay Kay. Lead actor Shahid put in an awesome performance and was so committed that he did not take fees for the movie until it succeeded, which it did.
‘Namesake’, directed by Mira Nair, was based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s book. It was an English film. Irrfan and Tabu played Indian immigrants to the USA. Both are fabulous in this movie. Interestingly, Tabu had never seen Taj Mahal earlier and saw it for first time during shooting of this movie. Jhumpa Lahiri plays ‘Jhumpa Maushi’ in the movie. Mira Nair originally wanted Rani Mukherjee in the movie but she was busy with ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehnaa’ and so Tabu got the role.

Paan Singh Tomar

‘Paan Singh Tomar’ was once again directed by Tigmanshu, Irrfan’s close friend. It was a biopic about a 7-time steeplechase champion who became a dacoit. The movie won the National Film Awards in ‘best film category’ and Irrfan won ‘best actor award’ as well. Irrfan also won Filmfare Critics Award for best actor as well. He is on record calling this the most physically and mentally demanding movie of his career. To prepare for the role, Irrfan trained with steeplechase coaches and once even broke his ankle. Tigmanshu and Irrfan were classmates at NSD and Tigmanshu had promised him that he will get him a national award. He redeemed his promise with this movie.

‘Lunch Box’, starring Irrfan and Nimrat Kaur, had the unusual theme ‘can you fall in love with someone you have not met’. The movie is written and directed by Ritesh Batra, who was intrigued by the famous dabbawalla system of Mumbai and wanted to make a documentary, but hearing of some interesting personal stories made a film instead. Irrfan, Nimrat and Nawazuddin play a Christian, Hindu and Muslim respectively and this signifies Mumbai’s cultural diversity. Kenyan-Mexican actor and Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o has named ‘Lunch Box’ as her favourite film.
‘Hindi Medium’ is Irrfan’s biggest success. Made on a budget of just Rs 14 crore, the movie made upwards of Rs 300 crore and was a huge success in China. Irrfan won the ‘Filmfare best actor award’ and the movie won ‘Filmfare best movie award’ as well. He and Saba Qamar play a couple who struggle to get their kid admitted to an English medium school. It is a very simple and realistic movie and appealed to all.

Irrfan has several other tremendous movies such as ‘Piku’, ‘Life in a Metro’, ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘Life of Pi’ and many more. He was only 53 and certainly had at least 15-20 years of good cinema ahead of him. He is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and two sons Babil and Ayan, who performed the last rites. He was buried at Versova Kabristan. No surprises that his best friends Tigmanshu and Vishal were there to pay their last respects to their dear friend.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.