Irrfan Khan was an Indian actor. Irrfan is professionally also popular as only “Irrfan”. He was a part of mostly Hindi cinema and was also a part of several British as well as American films. Sadly, the veteran actor died at the young age of 53 years on Wednesday, 29th April 2020, just four days after his mother’s passing away.
Table of Biography
Battle with Cancer and Untimely Demise
Bollywood star Irrfan Khan lost his life in his battle with a cancerous tumor on Wednesday, 29th April 2020. He passed away at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Irrfan had been getting treatment in London and returned to his home country, India, a few months back. He was rushed to the Mumbai’s hospital a day before following colon infection and then admitted to the ICU. He had been battling the neuroendocrine tumor ever since its diagnosis in 2018.
The versatile actor was buried in the presence of his family, close relatives, and friends at 3 pm on Wednesday. An official statement from the actor’s representative read:
“Irrfan was buried at the Versova kabrastan in Mumbai at 3 pm this afternoon soon after the news of his passing away was announced. In presence were his family, close relatives and friends. Everyone paid their final respects and mourned the loss of his passing away. We pray for his peace and we hope he’s in a better place today. He was strong in his fight, and we all have to be strong too in this loss.”
Reaction from the Hollywood stars
Ever since the news of his demise broke out, both Bollywood, as well as Hollywood celebrities, have been paying tributes to the legendary actor. One of the Holly stars is Angelina Jolie, who worked with the late actor in A Mighty Heart. She expressed her condolence in a statement and wrote:
“I had the privilege of working with Irrfan Khan on the set of A Mighty Heart. He stood out for his generosity as an artist, which made it a pleasure to work in any scene with him. I remember the intensity of his commitment and equally his smile. I send my condolences and my sympathy to his family, his friends, and all admirers of his work in India and around the world.”
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman is another one of Hollywood celebrities to pay tribute to the late actor. She took to Instagram to share a photo of herself with the actor. In the photo, she is in white bridal wear and is held by Irrfan, who is clad in a black and white suit with a hat.
More Tributes from Hollywood Stars
Moreover, Chris Pratt, who worked with Irrfan Khan in the 2015 blockbuster Jurrasic World, also paid a tribute to the actor and described him as “an exquisite actor and a screen legend” and he further wrote Irrfan will always be missed.
“So sad to hear about the passing of screen legend, Irrfan Khan. Irrfan Khan played Masrani in Jurassic World. He was an exquisite actor and human. He will be missed.”
Jurrasic World’s director, Colin Trevorrow, also mourned Irrfan Khan on Wednesday and recalled his last correspondence with the late actor. He shared a heartwarming picture of Irrfan and wrote:
“Deeply sad to have lost Irrfan Khan. A thoughtful man, who found beauty in the world around him even in pain. In our last correspondence, he asked me to remember ‘the wonderful aspects of our existence’ in the darkest of days. Here he is, laughing.”
Reactions from Bollywood Stars
Both fans and the film fraternity have found an outlet on social media after the untimely demise of veteran Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan. Many co-stars have deluged on Twitter with tributes to the late actor.
Among many, some Bollywood stars who paid tribute to Irrfan Khan are Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Freida Pinto, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Ranveer Sing, Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Kajol, Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, and Nimrat Kaur.
Many described him as an irreplaceable actor in the Bollywood world. Shoojit Sircar, director of Piku, tweeted:
My dear friend Irfaan. You fought and fought and fought. I will always be proud of you.. we shall meet again.. condolences to Sutapa and Babil.. you too fought, Sutapa you gave everything possible in this fight. Peace and Om shanti. Irfaan Khan salute.
Nimrat Kaur, who worked with the late actor on Lunchbox, also tweeted paying tribute to the late actor and sharing her deepest condolences to his family at this grave hour.
Similarly, Shilpa Shetty also wrote, “I’m numb today… I haven’t been able to accept the loss of a brilliant co-actor & a fabulous person that @irrfank was! We’ve lost a gem today, but his legacy will live on through the phenomenal body of work that he has left behind. Rest in peace, Irrfan!🙏🏻🙏🏻”
More Tributes from Bollywood Veterans
Veteran actor Kamal Hasaan wrote in his tweet, “Too soon to leave @irrfank Ji. Your work always left me in awe. You’re one of the finest actors I know, I wish you stayed longer. You deserved more time. Strength to his family at this time.” Another remarkable actor Aamir Khan also tweeted sharing his sorrow due to the actor’s demise.
Dharmendra Deol also wrote heartfelt condolence in his tweet, “Occasional meetings with Irrfan were always affectionate. I used to pray for his health since I heard about his illness. Saddened to hear of his untimely death. My heartfelt condolences to the family. May God give them all strength during this painful time. इरफान, तुझे जन्नत नसिब हो 🙏🏻”
Amitabh Bachchan played with the late actor in the 2015 movie Piku tweeted:
“Just getting news of the passing of Irfaan Khan .. this is the most disturbing and sad news… 🙏 An incredible talent .. a gracious colleague .. a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema .. left us too soon .. creating a huge vacuum…
Prayers and duas 🙏”.
Another one among many is Taapsee Pannu, who tweeted, “When we thought nothing could make us feel worse, this happened. I think I will refuse to believe you are no more by watching all your work time n again n again n again. I have known you that way n shall continue to know you that way forever. You ARE the best we have”.
Early Life and Childhood
Irrfan Khan’s full name is Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan and he was born on 7 January 1967. His birthplace is Tonk, Rajasthan, India and he was 53 years old when passed away on 29 April 2020 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. He was born to a Muslim family of Pathan ancestry. His mother is Saeeda Begum Khan and she was from Jodhpur, and his father is Yaseen Ali Khan who was from the Khajuriya village in Rajasthan’s Tonk district.
His parents ran a tyre business and he spent his childhood in Tonk, and then Jaipur. Irrfan Khan was good at cricket and hence he was selected to play in the CK Nayudu Trophy for emerging players in the under-23 category. It is a tournament seen as a stepping stone to first-class cricket in India. However, Irrfan did not attend because he could not afford travel expenses. Moreover, Irrfan has three siblings namely Salman Khan, Imran Khan, and Rukhsana Begum.
Tragically, only four days before his own decease, Irrfan Khan’s 95-year-old mother also died in Jaipur. However, Irrfan and his family could not attend her funeral because of India’s nationwide lockdown during the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Beginning of Acting
Then Irrfan showed interest in acting under the influence of his maternal uncle who was a theatre artist in Jodhpur. In Jaipur, he got introduced to noted theatre artists and he also did several stage performances in the city. Moreover, Irrfan Khan completed his MA in Jaipur and later joined the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi. He joined it in 1984 and studied acting.
Additionally, in his early days in Mumbai, Irrfan took up a job as an air conditioner repairman and visited the home of his acting inspiration, Rajesh Khanna, in 1984. Then later in an interview, he said:
“The kind of craze that Rajesh Khanna witnessed has not been duplicated by anyone. He was the biggest and the realest star Bollywood has produced. I’d say stardom is that feeling of being possessed by your idol; you are so overwhelmed with euphoria you lose touch with reality.”
Then in 2012, he changed his name’s spelling from “Irfan” to “Irrfan” stating that he liked the sound of extra ‘r’ in his name. But there was no numerology behind this change. Further, according to a 2016 interview, the actor also later dropped “Khan” from his name because Irrfan wanted his work to define him, not his lineage.
Career and Professional Life
Irrfan Khan is/was an Indian actor who worked in the Hindi cinema and also in British and American films. He is cited in the media as one of the finest actors in Indian cinema. His career spanned over 30 years and earned him numerous accolades which include a National Film Award, an Asian Film Award, and four Filmfare Awards. Similarly, the late actor also received the Padma Shri, which is India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.
Moreover, Irrfan is the first Bollywood actor to star in two films that won the Academy Award for Best Director. They are Slumdog Millionaire in 2008 and Life of Pi in 2012. Both these films also won the Academy Award for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Original Score”. Additionally, in two completely unconnected movies, Irrfan spoke of “Richard Parker”: the tiger in Life of Pi (2012) and Spiderman’s dad in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
Similarly, Irrfan Khan’s impressive filmography also includes projects like Maqbool, Haasil, Paan Singh Tomar, Haider, Pinku, Talvar, and Salaam Bombay!. Salaam Bombay! is the Academy Award-nominated movie. Also, Irrfan was also a part of international projects like The Namesake, Life Of Pi, Inferno, Slumdog Millionaire, Puzzle, and The Warrior among others.
The late actor’s last project was Angrezi Medium that included co-stars Kareena Kapoor and Radhika Madan. Similarly, his initial project/film was Haasil. He used to appear as a Villian in several movies before getting the role of the hero in numerous movies.
Another one of Irrfan’s international projects is A Mighty Heart, a 2007 drama. Michael Winterbottom directed the movie based on Mariane Pearl’s 2003 memoir of the same name. It revolves around the aftermath of the kidnapping of Marianne’s journalist husband Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, and his subsequent beheading by the kidnappers. In the movie, Angelina Jolie played Marianne Pearl while Irrfan Khan played the character of a Karachi police chief Zeeshan Kazmi.
In addition to being an actor, he was also a brand ambassador for Resurgent Rajasthan. It is a campaign bu the state government of Rajasthan and he got the appointment in September 2015. Moreover, Irrfan also lent his voice to the light and sound show at the war memorial for the Indian army. It was organized at Vidhan Sabha Road, Jaipur. The show portrayed the valor and courage of Rajasthani soldiers as well as their historic and modern triumphs in battle.
Awards and Nominations
Irrfan Khan is a remarkable and legendary Bollywood actor who also starred in Bollywood movies. He received several awards and nominations. He has a total of ten nominations under his belt, among with he bagged seven awards. Some of them are “Best Performance in a Negative Role” at the 2004 Filmfare Awards for his role in Haasil, “Best Supporting Actor” at the 2008 Filmfare Awards for his role in Life in a… Metro.
Irrfan also bagged the “Best Actor” at the National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards in 2013 for his role in Paan Singh Tomar, “Best Actor” at the 2014 Asian Film Awards for The Lunchbox, as well as at the 2018 Filmfare Awards for his role in Hindi Medium.
Additionally, Irrfan also shared a photo on his Instagram in December 2017 in which he is receiving the DIFF honor for the movie The Song of Scorpions.
Comments on Religious Practices
Unlike most Indian stars, Irrfan Khan was outspoken on religion. On Arnab Goswami’s talk show, Khan took on Muslim fundamentalists, including India’s Grand Imam. Irrfan argued against “transactional religious interaction” and for “personal religious discovery”, and “to discover yourself, to find God”.
Although Irrfan admits he is “not an authority” on the Quran and Islamic Holy scriptures, he bravely stood by his comments despite heavy criticism and threats of violence. Khan was very much aware of the dangers that his frank comments pose to him and his family. His wife also shared her family’s proudness with the actor’s believes and comments.
Controversial Comment on Islamic Practices
Moreover, during an event in Jaipur, India in 2016, Irrfan Khan stated that in today’s practices, the actual meaning of Qurbani (sacrifice) has been lost. He added that purchasing a goat from the market and killing it after two days is not “Qurbani”. The actor also added that the essence of the Islamic festival is about giving up, sacrificing something that is important to oneself.
The actor also condemned the ritual of fasting during the month of Ramzan. He said,
“Rather than fasting during Ramzan, people should self-introspect. Animals are being slaughtered on in the name of Qurbani during Muharram. We, Muslims, have made a mockery of Muharram. It is meant for mourning and what we do? Take out (tajiya) processions.”
He faced widespread criticism from Islamic clerics and even the AIMPLB for his remarks. Such people who hated the actor for his remarks on Islamic practices were quick to celebrate at his demise. One of them is the so-called-journalist, Ali Sohrab, infamous for sharing objectionable and bigoted content on his Twitter page. In one of his series of Tweets, Ali wrote that it is Allah’s ultimate punishment that the actor who had once insulted the ritual of fasting during the month of Ramzan, died during the month of Ramzan.
Apart from Sohrab, there are many other radical Islamists who have been mocking and celebrating the actor’s death. Many other Islamists also chose this day to scorn the departed soul for his progressive ideologies. A Twitter user Abu Salman wrote, “He was an atheist. He made fun of Ramadan. We can only pray for his family to get hidaya. Nothing more.”
Irrfan Khan was a married man until his untimely death. He married his wife, Sutapa Sikdar, on 23 February 1995. The couple has two sons together and they are Babil and Ayan. Sutapa is a writer and fellow NSD graduate. She is also a dialogue writer in films. Similarly, his second son, Ayan, born in 2001 is also an actor who starred in Life of Pi.
Social Media and Net Worth
Irrfan Khan is joined Twitter in February 2012 and has 2.3 million followers as of April 2020. Similarly, he also has an Instagram handle with 73 posts shares and 801k followers. Even after his demise, Irrfan’s social media accounts are not deleted or made inactive.
At the time of his death, Irrfan Khan’s net worth estimation $50 million. He earned through his various acting projects in his home country as well as internationally. Many veteran actors in Bollywood described him as an irreplaceable actor in the Indian Cinema. Some also called him the remarkable representative of Indian Cinema in the international arena.