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Irrfan Khan: Bollywood’s First International Crossover Star Was a Trailblazer

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:54 PM
Harsh Chauhan
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:54 PM
  • Irrfan Khan passes away at the age of 53.
  • He acted in Oscar-winning movies such as Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.
  • Tributes pour in for the actor who left a lasting impression on international cinema.

Indian film actor Irrfan Khan passed away today at a hospital in the western Indian city of Mumbai where he was admitted for a colon infection. He was 53.

The actor, known internationally for his performances in movies such as Jurassic World, The Amazing Spider-Man, A Mighty Heart, and Slumdog Millionaire was battling with an endocrine tumor for the past two years. His passing away has evoked emotional responses from celebrities across both Bollywood and Hollywood, which is not surprising as his wide range of performances across the globe earned him several accolades.

Irrfan Khan’s unique acting prowess were recognized globally

Irrfan Khan was an understated actor with an inimitable style that shone in his different performances. He played the role of Sunil  in HBO’s American Drama – In Treatment – that was not only critically-acclaimed, but also won several awards including Emmy, Writers Guild, and Golden Globe.

The show ran for three seasons from 2008 to 2010. Khan enamored audiences playing the role of a widower who had to move in with his son’s family in Brooklyn from Calcutta, India, but is haunted by his dark past.

Irrfan Khan was also seen in Oscar-winning productions Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi. Both movies swept the Academy Awards, with Slumdog Millionaire winning eight Oscars and Life of Pi winning four. Irrfan Khan’s performances in these Oscar-winning movies established him as a truly global star. He also went on to act in big-budget Hollywood movies such as Jurassic World and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Irrfan Khan may well have done more movies in Hollywood but he chose to stay in India. The actor has been known to turn down offers  from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, among others. He said in an interview in 2016:

I keep getting interesting offers. If I were younger, I might have thought of relocating to Hollywood. But I never really felt like leaving India. My people are here and so are my stories.

Tributes pour in from across the world

Irrfan Khan left indelible impressions on the people he worked with, as is evident from the outpouring of condolence messages on Twitter. Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow remembered Khan as a “thoughtful man who found beauty in the world around him, even in pain.”

Source: Twitter 

Bollywood’s latest export to the west, Priyanka Chopra, called Khan’s work as “pure magic” in her condolence tweet.

Source: Twitter 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chipped in with a tribute on Twitter, calling the actor’s demise a “loss to the world of cinema and theatre.”

Source: Twitter

Irrfan Khan’s wide array of work in different movie industries across the globe established his versatile genius, one that can only be lived through the numerous performances he gave us during his lifetime.