From playing characters based on plays of William Shakespeare to characters that came out of the imagination of novelists like Ruskin Bond and Jhumpa Lahiri, the late National Award-winning actor Irrfan Khan set the journey of many stories from word to screen.


Be it in Bollywood or in world cinema, Irrfan Khan managed to strike the right cord with his performance in both the cinematic worlds.

Irrfan Khan's memorable portrayals from book to screen
Irrfan Khan: 7 Times The Talented Actor Brought A Book To Life On The Silver Screen


In an earlier interview with IANS, Irrfan Khan had said: “I think the most interesting part of exploring both the worlds of cinema — Bollywood and Hollywood — is how the audience perceives an actor. In our (Indian) cinema, actors are like a magician who comes on screen and do something to engage and mesmerise. On the other hand, in the West, actors are performers, and the audience looks for a certain amount of nuance, subtleness. It is really an interesting area to explore for an actor like me.”

Here is a list of characters that Irrfan Khan portrayed on-screen that did absolute justice to their written versions too!

Maqbool (2003): In the Vishal Bharadwaj directorial Irrfan Khan played the title character Miyan Maqbool, which was based on William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”.

The Namesake(2006): The directorial work of the Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mira Nair was based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, of the same name. Irrfan Khan played the character of Ashoke Ganguli. The actor received a lot of love for his acting in the film.

A Mighty Heart (2007): The film was based on the book “A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life And Death Of My Husband Daniel Pearl” written by Mariane Pearl. In the Angelina Jolie-starrer, Irrfan played Zeeshan Kazmi, police chief of Karachi who heads the investigation of the abduction of the journalist.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Based on the novel “Q & A” (2005) by Indian author Vikas Swarup, Irrfan played the police officer who interrogates Jamal, a boy from the Mumbai slums who participates in a television show and manages to win despite being uneducated.

7 Khoon Maaf (2011): This was the second collaboration between Vishal Bharadwaj and Irrfan after “Maqbool”. The story of the film was based on a short story titled “Susanna’s Seven Husbands” by Ruskin Bond. In the film, Irrfan played the character of the Kashmiri poet Wasiullah Khan.

Life of Pi (2012): Based on the novel written by Yann Martel, the film is directed by Ang Lee. Irrfan played the adult phase of the protagonist – Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel. The film was nominated at the Academy Awards.

Haider (2014): Based on Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Irrfan essayed the character of Roohdar, the ghost of Hamlet’s father. His performance was appreciated by the audience and critics alike.

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