Irrfan Khan of the finest actors to have graced both Hollywood and Bollywood has passed away. His endeavors in the showbiz industry has racked up a resume of nearly 80 films. To think that he initially gave up acting in his 30’s after a decade in lacklustre TV shows.
Despite his successes, he had his fair share of setbacks as well. Due to his non mainstream looks, Bollywood directors felt casting him in a romantic lead would not sit well with the audience. Putting that setback aside, he strived to mould himself into a character artist and was successfully able to land roles in several Bollywood and Hollywood productions. His most notable forays into celebrated western cinematography being the films Life of Pi, Jurassic World and the award winning Slumdog Millionaire.
A straight talker, Irrfan was never far from controversy as he often shared his thoughts on his Muslim beliefs and about the differences between different film industries. He was open minded and expressive with his thoughts.
Born in a village called Tonk situated in Rajasthan on the 7th of January 1967, he went by the name Sahabzada Irfan Ali Khan. His father was a wealthy self-made businessman who owned a tyre business and his mother was of royalty. Irrfan removed Sahabzada from his name and also changed his name to Irrfan as he wanted his work to define him and not his lineage.
After his father passed away, Irrfan was expected by many to carry on his father’s business but he was adamant and determined to become an actor. His small and lean built was clearly a unsuited to the movie industry but his will to succeed in his passion was unmovable. For nearly a decade, he chased after roles, many of which were unflattering and mundane to the point he considered putting his acting career to pasture.
Some years later, he got his first big break from a British director to play a role in the 2001 movie The Warrior, in which he plays Lafcadia a warlord in feudal Rajasthan who attempts to give up the life of the sword and turn over a new leaf. The film met with great success and Irrfan never looked back since, thereafter managing to secure five to six movie roles a year.
Following his great success in the movies he starred in, he was able to then have greater freedom in choosing the roles that he wished to portray in films. He once mentioned in an interview that he preferred to play roles in films that were impactful and had more complex relationships.
At age 54, Irrfan was diagnosed with euroendocrine tumour cancer in 2018. He had a rare form of cancer that targets various organs of the body. He was admitted into hospital on the 28th of April 2020 where his condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed away the following day on the 29th of April, 2020. His death follows his mother’s demise just four days earlier.