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Irrfan Khan – Acting prodigy and the king of versatility

The sudden demise of an actor par excellence Irrfan Khan has just not sent shock waves throughout the Bollywood, but his demise has ached the hearts of global cinema fraternity too. A self-made man in Bollywood, Irrfan was an acting prodigy and above all, he was a loving family man and a valiant warrior.

Irrfan breathed his last on Wednesday at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital where he was admitted for Colon infection a day earlier. His funeral took place at Versova Kabrastan in the presence of 20 close family members and friends.

Irrfan’s acting abilities were highlighted on numerous occasions when he made the most difficult roles look effortless. Every actor and director, who got the opportunity to work with him, feels fortunate to have learnt the craft from one of the rarest of rare gems of Indian cinema. His films might have done good or bad at the box office, but there has been no single movie where his performance can be questioned. He kept his standards high as a performer.

Irrfan Khan’s journey to a National Award Winning actor was not a cakewalk and he fought every ups and down that came his way like a valorous.

Here we bring to you the entire lifecycle of Irrfan Khan, for whom, sky also was not the limit.

Born in Rajasthan on January 7, 1967 at a wealthy Muslim family, Sahabzade Irrfan Ali Khan was son of Saeeda Begum Khan and Yaseen Ali Khan. His father ran a tyre business. He was a Cricket player from very early age and was also selected for the CK Nayudu Trophy for emerging players in the under-23 category, a tournament seen as a stepping stone to first-class cricket in India.

He, however, had to leave it as it involved travel expenses that were out his father’s budget.

Acting Interest

Irrfan’s acting interest came from his maternal uncle who himself was a theatre artist in Jodhpur. Khan was introduced to noted theatre artists and did several stage performances in Jaipur before completing his MA. He then joined the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi in 1984 to study acting.

Early Career

Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay was the first film he acted in the year 1987 but his scenes did not make it the final cut. This was the time when his TV career began. He played Lenin in a teleplay on Doordarshan titled Laal Ghaas Par Neele Ghode. He was then cast as a psycho killer, the main antagonist of the show, in the serial Darr. He also appeared in two episodes of the SET India serial Bhanvar. His famous television serials included – Chanakya, Bharat Ek Khoj, Sara Jahan Hamara, Banegi Apni Baat, Chandrakanta, Shrikant, AnooGoonj on Doordarshan, Star Bestsellers (Star Plus), and Sparsh.

There were several films Irrfan acted in went unnoticed in India. Movies like The Warrior, Road to Ladakh (Short Film). Both the films were praised in international festivals and Irrfan’s role got recognition on global level.

In the year 2004, his role got critically acclaimed in the film Maqbool which was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Bollywood Journey

His Bollywood journey began from the film Rog in the year 2005. He was praised for his role and he came in the notice of Bollywood filmmakers. Despite having extraordinary skills and despite being the most versatile actor, Irrfan did everything came his way. He never remained specific to lead roles or only positive characters. In 2004, he won the Filmfare Best Villain Award for his role in Haasil.

Year 2007 remained fruitful for Irrfan as he did films like The Namesake and Life in a… Metro, that did good business at the box office. Irrfan also bagged the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award the same year.

Irrfan has acted in 155 films including his international ventures. His finest films include Haasil, Maqbool, Paan Singh Tomar, Haider, Piku, Talwar, Hindi Medium. He also gained respect in Hollywood with his acting skills. His international films include The Warrior,The Namesake, A Mighty Heart (with Angelina Jolie), Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, The Lunchbox, Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost and The Song of Scorpions. He has also acted in Hollywood films like The Amazing Spider-Man, Jurassic World and Inferno.

List of Awards

Among many of the awards that he has bagged, some notable ones are: National Film Award for the best actor in the 60th National Film Awards 2012 and Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie Paan Singh Tomar. In 2014 he won the Asian Film Award for Best Actor and was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour for his contribution to the field of arts in 2011.

Personal Life

In February 1995, Khan married writer and fellow NSD graduate Sutapa Sikdar. They had two sons.

Irrfan Khan’s last film ‘Angrezi Medium’ was released on an OTT platform on April 1 due to current lockdown in the country. His performance in the film has been applauded.

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