Nirmal Kumar Betchoo
On this 29th April 2020, India lost one of its leading and most competent actors in the name of Irrfan Khan, a Bollywood jewel, who faced a tough disease during the last two years. News have been flooding through all media since the announcement of his demise. Irrfan Khan, 53, was an actor known for his ability to play diverse roles with a lot of ingenuity and confidence. Mauritian fans were all struck by awe and emotion following the sad news that they got through the media. It was however known to us all that Irrfan was suffering from a serious disease and that he had gone to London for treatment. Expectations were sometimes high with his coming back to good health although things changed for the worse just last week.
Irrfan Khan was not a glamourous star seen from his looks that very easily led him to accept supporting roles in Indian cinema that has always given importance to handsome faces with a fair glow. It nevertheless needed the support from the numerous artistes playing smaller but convincing roles to give a real dimension to a movie. Irrfan was one of them despite his coming to fame took quite a long time as this is also similar for other supporting actors. it was perseverance over two decades that led him make his major footsteps in Hindi cinema in the movie ‘The Warrior’.
Irrfan Khan started his career on screen with ‘Salaam Bombay’ where his role was minimal and unnoticed by viewers. The actor even decided to leave cinema after the weak support he earned at the beginning. He persisted and later joined cinema with a strong foothold making a real and genuine impression in the minds of moviegoers.
The actor had an international acclaim and that’s why his death was declared on the headlines of international papers like ‘The Guardian’, ‘The New York Times’, ‘BBC World’. All media experts as well as cinema professionals immediately showered respect and admiration on an actor who lived so shortly in this material world while leaving a legacy of his own.
Although movie goers would like to find out his best roles through his film biography spanning some eighty films in a career spanning some twenty years, memorable roles from Irrfan could be found everywhere. In ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, he played with real enthusiasm and vigour the role of a corrupt policeman, in ‘The Lunchbox’ his character of an individual in the search for unexpected love was admired not only by Indians but was number one in the German box-office. Irrfan played it nicely as senior Pi (Piscine) in Oscar-winning movie ‘Life of Pi’ which was itself a novel winning the ‘Booker Prize’.
Regarding Hindi movies, Irrfan’s roles were legendary in ‘Maqbool’, an adaptation of Macbeth, ‘Talwar’, a role where the personality portrayed a suspected individual, ‘Life in a metro’ where he was an important character seeking friendship with an ordinary girl played by Konkonna Sen. Another remarkable role was in ‘Piku’ where Irrfan played a wonderful role of a taxi owner opposite Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan.
His roles in ‘Hindi Medium’ followed by ‘Angrezi Medium’ got him applauds from the audience. ‘Hindi Medium’ won the best picture at the Filmfare Awards 2017 as well as the ‘Best actor’ award for Irrfan’s exceptional performance as Raj Batra. It seemed that he liked playing it simple with his probing eyes and perfectly tuned dialogues.
In recent years, Irrfan’s life looked more like a tragedy. The moment he contracted a disease, he said that he was struck by lightning and mentioned life as an existence of a cork moving in the ocean. His mother died two days before Irrfan himself left the world. Mauritian cinegoers will always remember him but also reminisce that his ‘Angrezi Medium’ was the last film before the lockdown, some sort of history on its own.