The most popular face of Indian cinema in Hollywood, acclaimed international actor has inspired film-lovers including artists and actors the world-over.
From an average Television artist, he went on to become a remarkable international actor. Irrfan Khan who died battling colon cancer at 53, was the popular face of Indian cinema in Hollywood due to the critical acclaim he had received for his roles in Hollywood movies.
Born in an average Muslim Nawab family in Jaipur city, Irrfan’s father late Jagirdar Khan ran tyre business to feed the family. Financial constraints however did not deter irrfan’s determination to make a mark in Television and films.
He never believed in hogging the limelight but strives for reaching-out to large number of audiences by virtue of his awe-inspiring acting in Hollywood films. Such commitment has paid-off and taken Indian cinema to new heights.
Popular for his serious and comic roles in Bollywood, Khan had fascinated film-lovers around the globe with his creative yet diverse roles in Hollywood movies. He received the Oscar red carpet welcome twice for his roles in Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.
During an exclusive chat with Khabar South Asia a few years before, the actor said Hollywood had awakened and stimulated an actor in him.
“Hollywood directors have full confidence in me that I can do justice with the character I play. I get scripts of my interest and demonstrate to the best of my ability and their satisfaction” said Irrfan.
His roles in some other popular Hollywood movies like ‘The Namesake, New York, I Love You and The Mighty Heart and The Amazing Spider-Man inspired his fans across the world adding to his fame internationally.
In noted Danny Boyle’s Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, Khan played the tough inspector who interrogates Jamal a contestant in the ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’
Money was not a motivating force behind his entry into Hollywood but the increasing number of audience, he strived to add on.
“More than half of my earnings from Hollywood movies go into taxes. The time consumed in making one Hollywood movie is sufficient enough to make five movies in Bollywood. It is a mistaken concept that Hollywood movies are cash-rich,” Khan added.
Actors and artists in film industry hail his capability and achievements. “Irfaan is a wonderful actor who fits into any kind of script and role. In fact, he is Benicio Del Toro of Bollywood,” Arjan Bajwa 34, Bollywood Actor, told Khabar, a few years ago.
“Only a few actors have such unique capability. He has taken the Indian cinema to new heights in the global arena,”
Critics described his acting as enthralling. ”At present, he is one of the best Actors in Indian film industry. His body language matches the roles he plays in films” Ismail Zafar Khan, senior producer at Live India Television had told Khabar.
“He can do justice to any role assigned to him. He knows how to transform the script into believable action scenes on the screen,”
While speaking to Khabar, Bajan Sopori, the leading musician said, “All time dynamism and versatility in Irrfan’s acting has made him a leading star. He is an all-rounder and can do justice to any role especially comic and villain,”
“He works with dedication and brings about perfection in every role assigned to him. He has inspired many by his fascinating roles in Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi,”
Arduous journey from TV artist to Hollywood actor
Pass-out of National School of Drama (NSD), Irrfan Khan started his career from Television in 1987. He acted in a numerous TV serials including Chanrakanta, Chankaya and Banegi Apni Baat,- before making a debut in films.
Noted woman director Mira Nair offered him, a cameo in ‘Salaam Bombay’ in 1988 but his role was edited in the final film. However he did not look back and made a strong come back a few years later.
His main lead role in film Rog (2005) was praised by critics. Hindi movies like Maqbool, Saath Khoon Maaf, Billu Barber, Mumbai Meri Jaan and Paan Sing Tomar starring Irfaan are some of his big hits.
Khan made an impressive debut in Hollywood in 2001 playing a lead role in “The Warrior”. The movie directed by London-based director Asif Kapadia was applauded at international film festivals.
“After premier of the film at New York I realised the significance of being part of international film. I was thrilled by the response of the audience, who came out of the theatres in London to praise my character in the film.” said Khan.
“I became fully aware of ‘screen presence’. Audience was inspired by my character in the film and it made me a known face on the `global arena,” he added.
According to New York Times, the title warrior, Lafcadia (Irrfan Khan), is a long time indentured servant and executioner whose livelihood consists of ravaging small villages – and their women – with his menacing gang of brutes.
Bagged Awards one after other
Over the years, Irrfan emerged as a leading Actor and bagged several awards. Last year alone he bagged three awards including Film fare Critics Award for Best Actor in ‘Paan Singh Tomar’.
Earlier he received Film fare Best Villain Award for his role in Haasil in 2003. In 2007, he bagged Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in Life in a Metro.
In 2008, Khan earned fame internationally after bagging Screen Actors Guild Award for his Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture – Slumdog Millionaire.