Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Imran Khan … the list is long but the KHAN who was the Big Boss among these Khans in Bollywood was unarguably Irrfan Khan. Though Irrfan Khan lacked the ‘Chocolate‘ or in Mumbai language, the ‘Chikna’ looks yet he was a ‘power-house’ of acting and it was his phenomenal talent that won the hearts of Hollywood filmmakers. Some of his memorable Hollywood films are The Warrior, Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, Jurassic World, The Namesake, and The Amazing Spider-Man, etc. Irrfan Khan thus gave Bollywood actors a new status and respect in Hollywood.
Paying condolence to Irrfan Khan, Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who admired Irrfan Khan as a first-class actor in his statement said, “Irrfan Khan was an inspiration and the greatest actor of our times.” True, because Irrfan Khan was of the few actors in Bollywood who re-invented a new definition for Acting. Like the great actors of the ’70s and ’60s like Balraj Sahni, Ashok Kumar, and Sanjeev Kumar, Irrfan Khan did author-backed roles and portrayed the right balance of emotion in his performances. Hence superstar Amitabh Bachchan who worked with Irrfan Khan in the film Piku paying condolence to Irrfan Khan said, “The death of Irrfan Khan is most disturbing and sad news. He was an incredible talent, a gracious colleague, a prolific contributor, and a renowned actor in world cinema.”
Irrfan Khan’s death came as a loss not just to the Indian Film industry but even the world of politics and cricket expressed grief. Paying tribute to the dynamic actor the President of India Ram Nath Kovind mourned Irrfan Khan’s death. He said, “Irrfan Khan was “a rare talent and a brilliant actor.” Even the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi saluted Irrfan Khan. Modi in his condolence said, “Irrfan Khan will be remembered for his versatile performances across different mediums. His demise is a loss to the world cinema and theatre”. Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli wrote, “Irrfan Khan was a phenomenal talent.”
Irfan Khan was suffering from Neuroendocrine Tumor cancer and had taken treatment in London. On his return to India, he was on his way to recovery. He was positive and looking energetic. However, on Tuesday morning Irrfan Khan companied of pain and was rushed to Kokilaben Ambani hospital. He was admitted to the ICU but doctors failed to survive him. He was just 53 years old. He is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and sons Babil and Ayan.
Priyanka Chopra, who marveled at him as a great actor and had the pleasure of working together in the 7 Khoon Maaf said, “The charisma of Irrfan Khan was pure magic. His amazing talent forged the way for so many in so many avenues. He inspired so many of us. He was indeed a brilliant actor.”
A student of India’s premium acting institute National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi Irrfan Khan made his debut with a minor role In Hollywood fame film director Mira Nair’s film Salaam Bombay! (1988). Later he struggled a lot in India but was ignored. Later his fame in Hollywood films like The Warrior, Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, Jurassic World, The Namesake, and The Amazing Spider-Man won him stardom.
In Bollywood, Irrfan Khan came to fame for his brilliant negative role in the film Maqbool (2003). Later in the film Haasil (2004), he won the Filmfare Best Villain Award. Further with another Filmfare award for his comedy role in the film Life in a Metro (2007), and a National Award for Best Actor in Paan Singh Tomar (2011) made him a Star!
Filmmaker Karan Johar, who co-produced his film The Lunchbox (2014) lamenting the loss of Irrfan termed him a superlative actor who raised the bar of acting in Indian Cinema. In his tweet, Karan Johar wrote, “Irrfan Khan thank you for raising the bar as an artist. Thank you for enriching our Cinema. We will terribly miss you but will always be immensely grateful for your presence in our lives and our cinema. We salute you.”