On April 29, 2020, Irfan Khan died. He was diagnosed with an endocrine tumor (a rare type of cancer). He went to London for treatment and had his surgery done. The condition deteriorated and he was admitted to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai, Maharashtra. India lost one of its finest and promising actors.
His death had shocked not only his admirers but even those who took a casual approach towards his acting, that is Irfan. Many would not even notice him for his looks that certainly did not go with the cult Bollywood chocolate heros. On the contrary, it was his unconventional look that turned as an advantage. He would bag those roles that many would not even think of doing. Irfan was an intense actor who tried to live that character for the period. No wonder why his acting career touched the peak. Irfan married his National School of Drama (NSD) sweetheart Sutapa Sikdar and both have two sons – Ayaan and Babil Khan.
Irfan Khan was born on Nov 30th, 1962 as Sahabzade Irrfan Ali Khan in Jaipur, to a Muslim family. Khan’s mother, the Begum, was from the Tonk Hakim family, and his father, the late Jagirdar, was from the Khajuriya village near the Tonk district and ran a tire business. He has two brothers, Imran Khan and Salman Khan, and one sister Rukhsana Begum.
He began his career with prominent serials on Doordarshan like ‘Chanakya’, ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, ‘Sparsh’, ‘Sara Jahan Hamara’, ‘Banegi Apni Baat’. He became a popular face with his role in ‘Lal Ghaas Par Neele Ghonde’ where he played the role of iconic leader Lenin. It was translated by Uday Prakash based on a Russian play by Mikhail Shatrov. He had acted a few serials on Star Plus and other channels.
He made his debut with Meera Nair’s controversial film Salaam Bombay (1988), though his role was edited at the least minute. He acted in numerous parallel films like Basu Chatterjee’s Kamla Ki Maut (1989) where he featured opposite Roopa Ganguly. In 1990, Irfan worked with iconic filmmaker Tapan Sinha in his film ‘Ek Doctor Ki Maut’ having Pankaj Kapoor in the central role. He worked in a few more parallel cinemas.
His role in Maqbool in 2004 opened new doors for him and after his stint in Rog (2005) there was no looking back for the actor but he always remained in touch with his first love, the stage. The biggest advantage and perhaps disadvantage was his cult looks. The out of the bottle looks made him special, those who would meet him would never feel like meeting a celebrity but the guy next door. Irfan himself was aware of this would cherish this characteristic about his personality. His role in Mira Nair’s Namesake (2006) was appreciated by all.
Irfan had a big struggling life in films but with his dedication and zeal to achieve the peak, he became a world-famous name. Not just in Bollywood but Irfan left his mark in Hollywood too.
Social media is abuzz with tributes since morning. This is enough to show the love and adulation Irfan had among his fans. Irfan Khan had a short span of successful cine career but has left behind an indelible mark in the world of cinema rather entertainment as nobody can ever forget his theatre. He will be always remembered for his impeccable acting and the cult expressions that would bring the characters alive he played on screen.