Irrfan Khan leaves a big legacy of films

Irrfan Khan leaves a big legacy of films

Irrfan Khan. (Credit: Getty Images)

From essaying the small role of a humble letter writer in Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay and portraying a journalist in Ek Doctor ki Maut to being the owner of dinosaur park in Jurassic World, Irrfan Khan leaves behind a solid splendid legacy of a unique bouquet of films.

Many of his films, in a span of 30 years, have acquired the status of textbooks that future actors could always refer to.

In Billu Barber, where he worked alongside Shah Rukh Khan, and in Piku, in which he gives a superb performance as a taxi aggregator along with the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, will always be remembered.

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In 2018, he literally made a sort of exit from films, owing to deteriorating health because of a life-threatening neuroendocrine tumour. Born in Jaipur on January 7, 1967, to a family which was into tyre business, he is a product of the National School of Drama.

Irfaan started his career in TV serials like Chanakya, Chandrakanta,  Banegi Apni Baat and Shyam Benegal's Bharat Ek Khoj, which is largely based on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India

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He made his screen debut with the Academy Award-nominated film Salaam Bombay! (1988). In 1990, he played the role of a journalist in Ek Doctor Ki Maut, a film by noted Bengali filmmaker Tapan Sinha that starred Pankaj Kapur.

He played negative roles in drama-films like Haasil (2003) and Maqbool (2004). For the former, he won the Filmfare Award for Best Villain.

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The successful drama Life in a... Metro (2007) marked a turning point in Khan's career, earning him praise and several awards including the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. In Madhur Bhandarkar's Aan: Men at Work,  a multicast film involving Shatrughan Sinha,  Akshay Kumar,  Suneil Shetty, Jackie Shroff, Paresh Rawal and Milind Gunaji, he plays the role of an underworld don.

His portrayal of Paan Singh Tomar in the acclaimed biographical sports drama Paan Singh Tomar (2011), got him the National Film Award for Best Actor and a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor. He essays the role of soldier-turned-dacoit, that touched the cine-goers.

His performance in the BAFTA Award-nominated romance The Lunchbox (2013) earned him accolades.  

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Khan went on to feature in the commercially and critically successful films Haider (2014), Gunday (2014), Piku (2015) and Talvar (2015), that is based on the Arushi murder case. He worked in several international projects such as The Warrior (2001), The Namesake (2006), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), the Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008), New York, I Love You (2009), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016).

Both, Slumdog Millionaire, in which he is a police officer and Life of Pi, where he essays the role of the chief protagonist in adulthood, went on to win Oscars. His last film to be released was Angrezi Medium just before lockdown.

"He was a talented actor," said melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, a recipient of Bharat Ratna.

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan took to Twitter and said that Irrfan was incredibly talented. "Just getting news of the passing of Irfaan Khan .. this is most disturbing and sad news. An incredible talent .. a gracious colleague .. a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema .. left us too soon .. creating a huge vacuum".

A voracious reader, he would go through the script several times, and land in sets fully prepared, to deliver roles with ease and finesse.