Irreplaceable Irrfan

Homage to a glocal star

Cinema

April 30, 2020

/ By / Mumbai



Irrfan Khan’s last appearance on silver screen was Angrezi Medium, a film which unfortunately has been locked down due to coronavirus (MIG Photos/Varsha Singh)

Irrfan Khan, 53, leaves behind a huge filmography of some very good and some very mediocre films, but the actor would be best remembered for his versatility.

Angrezi Medium. This was one film that I had been anxiously waiting to see in the cinema. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, barely a week after it was released, cinema theatres in Maharashtra and soon afterwards across the country shut down due to the increasing threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, all I could see were the posters of the film, displayed at many cinemas across Mumbai as my profession demands me to be on the move every day. And, while in search of stories, each day I would pass by several single screens and multiplexes proudly displaying the poster of the film. Little did I know then that the film was going to be the last appearance on the silver screen by Irrfan Khan, one of my favourite actors across different genres of cinema.

I first came across Irrfan, the actor, in 2006 when I watched Salaam Bombay, the famous drama by Mira Nair that had hit the screens way back in 1988. Irrfan had but a small cameo in the film and he didnt have many dialogues, yet his eyes and the way he delivered the few dialogues assigned to him that impressed me the most and made me look for other films where he had appeared. Thus began my journey with Irrfan. My next encounter with him was a few months later when I watched Maqbool (2004), an adaptation of Shakespearean drama Macbeth, in which Irrfan plays an underworld don’s henchman with an unquenchable desire for power.  By now, Irrfan had already begun to make his mark as an actor, especially one who chose his films and roles with care. This image received a strong boost in 2007 with another Mira Nair film Namesake where he plays a Bengali man who gave an odd name to his son, a role that Irrfan played to perfection. But not every film chosen by Irrfan was a good choice for such a talented actor. His list of avoidable films is not too short either. It includes The Killer (2006) Sunday and Krazzy 4 in 2008, Billu Barber (2009), Right Yaaa Wrong (2010) or Thank You in 2011.

It was not just the Indian audiences that Irrfan has left his mark on. He had made a name for himself in the global cinema through his numerous appearances in Hollywood such as Mighty Heart (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Amazing Spiderman (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016). The global cine lovers would have had more of Irrfan had the actor not refused titles such as The Body of Lies (2008) and Interstellar (2014), decisions that he rued later. Though many producers had refused to cast Irrfan in romantic lead roles, but Irrfan did prove his mettle there, too, through the famous Indo-French co-production The Lunchbox (2013), Qarib Qarib Single (2017) and Piku (2015). Though he suffered from a grave illness, he had emerged from it and completed Angrezi Medium, a sequel to his earlier hit Hindi Medium. As he had missed out on the promotion and premiere as he was undergoing treatment in the United States, Irrfan had recorded a heartfelt message that was posted on social media. Main aaj aapke saath hun bhi aur nahin bhi (I am with you and yet not with you). These words of one of the greatest actors of our times ring ever so true today. May God grant you eternal peace and as you said in the audio clip “And yes…Wait For Me”, cinelovers all over the world would eternally wait for you.

Media India Group had the privilege of interviewing Irrfan Khan, during his visit to Paris in 2013, to participate in Extravagant India Film Festival co-organised by us. To see the interview click here- 

Interview of Irrfan Khan

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1 COMMENTS

  1. Avatar Shayeri Bhadra says:

    This article articulates very well the kind of acting genius that Irrfan Khan was. Though every actor chooses some forgettable films, when it comes to Irrfan we should only remember the joy he gave us with some memorable and unforgettable ones. His acting, which was understated and nuanced always made a mark in the minds of the viewers. Even when he didn’t say much, he managed to convey so much more.
    The article conveys in a nutshell what the followers of fine acting are going to miss.

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