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Irrfan : A Warrior in Reel as well as in Real

Shubham Sharma

The morning of 29th April,2020 appeared as a sad juncture for the lovers of versatile and to - the - ground actor Irrfan Khan. The legendary Indian actor broke millions of hearts across the world and made everyone to fall into tears once again, but this time not through his amazing film, but with news of his sad demise.

Born in Tonk, a small town of Rajasthan, on 7 January 1967 in a Muslim Pathan family, a pure vegetarian and admirer of non- violence, Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan was the son of a tyre businessman Jagirdar Khan and housewife Sayeeda Begum. He later changed his name to Irrfan Khan. He never took a keen interest in academics. Instead, he always aspired to become a cricketer. He was even shortlisted for C.K.Naidu Under-23 trophy for the team of Rajasthan. Days were going well, but the sudden demise of his father came as a thundershock for him as well as for his family. Owing to this, he was unable to go to Ajmer for final selection for the tournament and dropped all his dreams of becoming a cricketer.

Irrfan, who used to perform various dramas during his schooling, later went to Jaipur for pursuing his M.A. where he developed his passion for acting. So, he further came to Delhi in 1984 to take admission in the prestigious National School of Drama(NSD), which is considered as a stepping stone for actors. Competition for admission at NSD is far high, so that it takes at least a couple of years to grab the platform and kickstart the career. But, Irrfan was so determined to catch a seat in the academy in his very first attempt. An experience of performing in 10 dramas is a compulsion for shortlisting in NSD. Irrfan here made a lie to the selectors and took the name of 10 local dramas randomly. It was the impact of his personality and natural acting, that the selectors, who were performing the task of selection for years, didn't ask for a proof and blindly trusted him. Thus, Irrfan succeeded in obtaining a seat in the pool of top-notch performers. It was due to the fellowship offered to him at NSD, owing to which he was able to complete his course.

NSD proved to be a turning point for his acting career. Here he encountered Mira Nayar, the famous director, who was looking for an actor for a short role in her movie Salam Bombay. She appreciated his acting skills and took him to Bombay for this short role. But during editing, the only scene presenting him on the screen in the movie Salam Bombay was cut during editing. Thus, Irrfan got his first break in 1988 with this movie, and that too without appearance.

This incident didn't halt his courage, but strengthened him from inside so that he could face any sort of rejections now. Days passed, and Irrfan was struggling to get prominent roles. During this tenure, he made small appearances in movies like Ek Doctor ki Maut, Bada Din, Pita but was unable to get a recognition praise. He married to Sutapa Sikdar in 1995, a prominent screenplay writer, and completed their family with 2 sons Babil and Aryan.

Also Read: Irrfan Khan Dies: Twitter in Shock, PM Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan, Pay Last Tribute to The Legend

It was in the year 2001, when he got a film The Warrior, a Hollywood movie, whose director Asif Kapadia was not wealthy enough to hold the expenses of a celebrity actor. So he selected Irrfan for the same. Irrfan acted gloriously - according to the role, and from here started getting recognition. Then he signed the film Maqbool, based on Wiliam Shakespeare's play Macbeth, which made him a celebrity all night in 2003. He then acted in the film Haasil, for which he won his first Filmfare award for negative role in 2003. Now his career started sprinting, and he performed in films like Rog and The Darjeeling Limited and A Mighty Heart, where he grabbed the attention of international filmmakers of Hollywood with his tiny roles.

A man of shy appearance and faint complexion started ruling the hearts of millions with his fabulous performances. His film Slumdog Millionaire of 2008 proved to be a blockbuster, which acted as a police inspector. In 2011, he was awarded Padma Shree, India's 4th highest civilian honor.

Irrfan didn't stopped here. He continued mesmerising his audience with his wonderful vivid performances of unique genres. Be it Life of Pi, the international award-winning film, or Metro, for which he was awarded another Filmfare award. It was his exemplary performance in Hindi Medium, released in 2017, that left the world awestruck with such an original screenplay. Chinese cinema requested the filmmaker Homi Adjania to release the film in the Chinese dubbed version, after which the movie was released at 5000+ screens.

Everything was going well, but 2018 came as a storm in his life, when he was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor, destroying all his hopes of living. But, The Warrier gathered courage and went to London for treatment. The actor returned in late 2019, when he initiated the shooting of Angrezi Medium with his deteriorated health, his last film, despite repeated advice of bed rest by the doctors.

Irrfan recently lost his mother 3 days prior to his death. The actor was unable to attend his mother's funeral due to a nationwide funeral, and attended the same via video conferencing in tears.

The actor fought with the disease like The Warrior, his first blockbuster, but lost a long battle against cancer. But, the actor will always remain - and will continue to perform in our hearts.



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