When tragedy strikes, it is said, it does not come alone. It was just last week Irrfan Khan lost his mother and he was stuck in Mumbai due to the lockdown and could not reach Jaipur for her funeral. Yesterday he was admitted in the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in Mumbai and was in the ICU, following a colon infection and passed away this morning. He was diagnosed with a rare cancer, identified as neuroendocrine tumour in 2018 and was fighting a brave battle. He had gone to England in 2018 for treatment and returned last year. Maybe his mother’s demise and his inability to attend her funeral would have been a terrible shock for this great fighter who fought a valiant battle with cancer! Irrfan leaves behind his wife Sutpada Sikdar and two sons, Babil and Ayan who were near him when he breathed his last.
Born on 7 January,1966 in Jaipur, Rajasthan as Sahabsada Irfan Ali Khan, Irrfan Khan is from a not so affluent family [his father was in tyre business. ] His success in films proves that sheer talent could overcome dynastic background or the traditional ‘chocolate boy’ look considered essential for Hindi film heroes of the last century. After his graduation from the prestigious National School of Drama in 1987, Irfan Khan made a mark in theatre and television. He was in Shyam Benegal’s Bharat Ek Khoj , the television adaptation of Doordarshan of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India along with Tom Alter and Naseerudin Shah. His film debut was in 1988 with Mira Nair’s critically acclaimed ‘Salaam Bombay’. The following year he featured in Basu Chatterjee’s ‘Kamla ki Maut’ opposite Rupa Ganguly. After some struggle and not very successful films his brilliant talent was universally accepted in both Hindi and English films.
Irrfan Khan acted in over 100 films including English films like Life of Pi, Jurassic World, Slumdog Millionaire and The Amazing- Spider-Man. Some of his memorable Hindi Films include Piku, Maqbool, Hasil and Paan Singh Tomar. One could not see ‘Angrezi Medium’ his last released film which became a victim of the coronavirus lockdown.
His contribution to cinema and the awards and honours are very noteworthy. He won the National Best Actor Award in 2011 for his natural acting prowess as the hero in the sports biopic, Paan Singh Tomar , a realistic portrayal of the life of the nationally acclaimed athlete who was forced to become a dacoit. He received Filmfare Awards in four categories which is a unique achievement. If he won the Best Actor Award for the film Hindi Medium in 2016, the Filmfare Critic Award was for Paan Singh Tomar in 2013. Earlier in 2008, Irrfan was awarded as the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor for the film ’Life in a Metro’ . In 2004, he had won the Best Actor in a Negative Role [Villain] Award for the film ‘Haasil’. The nation honoured him with Padma Shri in 2011 for his contribution in the field of arts.
The nation is shocked at the loss of such an illustrious actor at the age of 54. Tributes and condolences are pouring in from national leaders, including the Prime Minister and film personalities. PM Modi in his tribute said, “Irrfan Khan will be remembered for his versatile performances across different mediums” and his demise as a loss to the World of Cinema and Theatre. Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan’s tweet sums up all the tributes. ”Just getting the news of the passing away of Irfan Khan. An incredible talent: a gracious colleague, prolific contributor to the world cinema; left us too soon creating a huge vacuum”