“You get the opportunity to reflect your work. Your dreams. Your pains. Your desires. Your aspirations. You can share them through stories to others. What a story does to people’s hearts is a very, very, very special part of being an actor.” – Irrfan Khan
The world mourns the passing of a special individual.
Iconic actor Irrfan Khan has passed away yesterday.
Irrfan had revealed in 2018 that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of an endocrine tumour.
The actor has passed away just 4 days after his mother, Saeeda Begum. According to sources, Irrfan was not able to attend the funeral of his mother due to the COVID-19 lockdown crisis.
The actor’s contribution to both Hindi and Western film industry is one that will not be forgotten. His Hindi films included Rog, Life in a… Metro, 7 Khoon Maaf, Piku, Hindi Medium and the recent Angrezi Medium. In Western cinema his films include The Namesake, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire and The Amazing Spider-Man.
A special factor about Irrfan was his integrity. The character he played mattered to him profoundly. So much so, that he almost gave up his acting career in the early days as he felt he just could not connect with the TV roles he found himself doing.
However, in 2001 Asif Kapadia’s film The Warrior arrived. The role of Rajasthani warrior Lafcadia encouraged Irrfan to keep on acting.
This was fortunate for us. Can you imagine a world and film industry without films such as The Lunchbox, The Namesake, Life of Pi?
Irrfan’s film journey brought characters epitomising harsh struggles of being human. Yet his characters also reflected the unshakeable strength each one of us holds within.
His portrayal of adult Pi in the magnificent Life of Pi took us to a stranded ocean, on board a rickety boat and with a tiger for companion.
His portrayal of Ashok Ganguly in The Namesake depicted bitter-sweet realisations of a Bengali man in a foreign land providing for his immigrant family. The sensitivity and authenticity with which he portrayed this role is something only a truly gifted actor could do.
The Lunchbox brought out the vulnerable heart-strings of an office worker – that part of us most prefer to keep hidden away. Yet, as his character portrayed, love does find a way if we let it.
This indeed is a very sad day, not only for the world of cinema, but for all those who dare to break moulds and challenge stereotypes.
We interviewed Irrfan in 2013 at the London Indian Film Festival. When he was asked what are the best things about being an actor, he replied:
“You get the opportunity to reflect your work. Your dreams. Your pains. Your desires. Your aspirations. You can share them through stories to others. What a story does to people’s hearts is a very, very, very special part of being an actor.”
His words ring true. We shall not forget the stories, characters, inspiration and courage that Irrfan Khan’s magnificent journey has left in our hearts.
Read our interview with Irrfan Khan: