It is a confusing time to be alive, but it must have been more confusing to be Irrfan Khan. He was finally getting the star status he rightly deserved as an actor, in the Hindi Film industry, when tragedy struck in the form of cancer. Having acted in over 100 films, Irrfan was last seen as the doting father in Angrezi Medium, and no actor’s comeback has been as highly anticipated this year in Bollywood!
While shooting for Angrezi Medium, he was suffering from cancer. After defeating the deadly ailment in London, he returned to India to find his latest film, Angrezi Medium, receive a massive response.However, he was soon bogged down with yet another bad news. Irrfan’s mother passed away on April 25, 2020 in Jaipur, and he was unable to attend the funeral because of the coronavirus lockdown. Three days later, he was back in the ICU battling for his own life.
— Irrfan (@irrfank) April 9, 2020
While actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Tripathi are first and foremost character actors, Irrfan Khan was the first and foremost character actor, at least of our generation. He made his way into films by playing small but impactful characters. A trend he never quite gave up. His character as Roohdaar in Haider, was as some would claim, the most interesting one in the film. Some still believe that there should be a whole film telling the story of Roohdaar. He always seemed to leave the audience wanting to see more of him.
Tigmanshu Dhulia once mentioned in an interview that according to him, Irrfan Khan is the best actor in the world. Irrfan proved his friend right, by playing vital roles in films that represented Indian culture to a foreign audience. His films like The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire and Life Of Pi, are touchstones of Indian characters in American cinema. This itself places Irrfan Khan in a much higher class of actors.
Irrfan Khan played characters who chose to have a crazed look and chose to live on the edges of society in films like Paan Singh Tomar and Madaari. He surprised everyone by playing the most unique male lead in the films Lunchbox and Piku.
Watch the trailer for Qarib Qarib Singlle one of Irrfan Khan’s rare films as a romantic lead here.
Irrfan Khan played loud and bold characters as well as soft and sensitive characters. He could go from seeming dangerous to vulnerable in the blink of an eye. He was a part of the Hindi film industry for over 30 years, and still seemed like the new and exciting performer to watch.
In life, as in his films, Irrfan Khan left the audiences wanting to see more of him.