“Death aur shit, yeh do cheezen kisi ko, kahin bhi, kabhi bhi, aa sakti hain”. This dialogue by Irrfan Khan from Shoojit Sircar’s Piku seems to have have stuck in my brain since the news of him passing away this morning came. An actor who knew how to place all the emotions at the right corner, at the right time, had his share of sacrifices in becoming a global movie actor.
Starting right from the television, some of his early age serials were Bharat Ki Khoj, Chanakya, Shrikant and Anoogoonj of Doordarshan. Irrfan Khan established himself as an actor who had so much potential and hardworking nature to learn more on his way ahead. However, his onscreen role was cut short from the very first movie offered to him, which was Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay in 1988. Irrfan sobbed all night after hearing that most of his role got chopped.
After some unsuccessful films such as Such a Long Journey and Ek Doctor Ki Maut, Khan created his face and position in Asif Kapadia’s The Warrior. The said film also made its way to international film festivals. With this, Irrfan Khan was one of the actors to break the long-running stereotype in Bollywood of how looks matter the most. After an international movie, Khan’s career went through a great journey which included his first lead in Rog (2005) and critically acclaimed Maqbool, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy art, Macbeth. Khan’s performance through his eyes was immensely praised. Critics usually pointed out that Khan’s eyes were so important and use to speak louder than his dialogues. After establishing himself in Bollywood with Life In A Metro, Khan set his title as a global actor from some international movies, such as The Namesake (2006), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008), New York I love you (2009), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016).
Unlike other so-called global actors from Bollywood, Irrfan actually made his impact felt in Hollywood. Not only did he do the numbers at the box office, he also played substantial roles in big films. Like, in The Namesake, Irrfan’s sensitive portrayal of a loving Bengali husband impressed the audiences worldwide and developed a positive image of Bollywood actors on such a big platform.
While many Bollywood actors used to appear in smaller parts in international films, Irrfan’s role in Jurassic World was pivotal to the script and was highly applauded. The film revolved around a new theme park built on the original site of Jurassic Park called Jurassic World, which was owned by Irrfan’s character. Irrfan played the adult Pi or Priscine Patel in the Golden Globe winner film Life of Pi. His stunning performance touched people’s hearts as he concluded the story of his and the enigmatic tiger’s friendship.
The veteran actor had so much influencing power in his acting, made every Indian middle-class man see themselves as one of his characters from several movies. His remarkable performances in some of the Indian movies are Haider (2014), Piku (2015), Talvar (2015) and Madaari (2016). His biggest solo hit Hindi Medium collected more than 200 crores in China.
The last role he played was of Champak Bansal in Angrezi Medium (2020). Sadly his last release got affected by the coronavirus lockdown and couldn’t do well theatrically. It was later released on OTT channel Disney Plus Hotstar. One role of his about which people usually say is that Shaukat from Karwaan portrayed somewhat like the real Irrfan Khan, a jolly, fun-loving, lover of words, a man with a great sense of humor and full of life. Today, we notice the end of a legacy with the death of one of the best we had, a global movie actor, Late Mr. Irrfan Khan. The world grieves over this loss.