Irfaan Khan’s demise was termed as a cultural tragedy as it was received by many as a personal loss. Born on 7 January, 1967 in Tonk, Rajasthan, Irrfan would have been 54 today. Though the actor is no longer amongst us, his words of wisdom remain. “An artist only happens when you start reflecting, when you start personalising things,” explained Irrfan, telling his audience about his relationship with his craft.
Khan who made his debut with a DD-era TV show Bharat Ek Khoj in 1988, became one of the very few actors who started with bit parts to progress to character roles and finally to become a protagonist playing author-backed roles in movies like Hindi Medium, Qarib Qarib Single, and many more. His first stint with that of Bollywood was light on-screen time as he played a role that lasted a few minutes in the 1988 movie Salaam Bombay, which went on to win a National Film award. But he became famous for his acting chops as he played the layered and complicated Macbeth in Maqbool. It was later followed with the role of a boorish Bengali man in Life in a Metro who left the audience in splits. But one of his first roles as a protagonist was in Lunch Box, a heart-warming love story along with Pan Singh Tomar, the tragic story of a national-level athlete turned rebel – a role that won him a National Award. Superlative performances – be it a Haider, Talvar, Hindi Medium or as India’s face in the west from a Slumdog Millionaire to The Amazing Spider Man, Life Of Pi, Jurassic Park to Inferno, Irrfan didn’t take his success seriously, he was an actor looking out to engage his audience. His last film was Angrezi Medium.
Irfan has won over 50 awards, including the Padma Shri in 2011 and the National Award for Best Actor in 2012. He died at the age of 53 on 29 April 2020 due to a colon infection.
“I don’t go for impressing people I want to engage myself and maybe because of that you all get surprised by my performances, but I am looking for engagement, maybe not at a massy level but I engage and the audience wonder or think about – that’s the connection I am seeking,” Irfaan Khan.