On that fateful Wednesday, April 29, at 11.11 am when the actor breathed his last surrounded by his family in a city hospital, several film industry folk found themselves struggling to put into words the impact and influence dear Irrfan had on their lives. Whether doling out on some survival skills in this harsh and unforgiving world of show business or simply being a friend to those who needed him, his generous acts slowly came to light through the many notes of love and tributes that poured in on social media.
Irrfan, who was in a league of his own, not just earning critical acclaim and accolades for his stellar performances in Bollywood films, but his effortless transition into a popular name in Hollywood.
Reunited for @infernothemovie promotions with these amazing guys @RealRonHoward @tomhanks in #Singapore !! https://t.co/vFk9x9A5Ai
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1465796608000
Seems we all r getting clicked for different photographs @infernothemovie @tomhanks @RealRonHoward @OmarSy… https://t.co/QkLnVXM2zP
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1475756086000
His journey westward started with his giant leap onto the international stage with his role in British director Asif Kapadia’s 2001 film
‘The Warrior’. Set in feudal Rajasthan, the adventure/drama went on to win a BAFTA for best British film and in turn introduced Khan to an audience who would quickly learn to love and appreciate him and all that he brought to the big screen.
With hugely successful films like ‘The Namesake’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ among many other films to his credit, he got due recognition as a ‘character actor’ and went on to bag significant roles, including one in Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning film ‘Life of Pi’. This film only opened up more doors for him some of which lead to roles in big-ticket films, including ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Inferno’.
Lining up for photocall day 2…. @tomhanks @RealRonHoward @AuthorDanBrown @OmarSy #FelicityJones… https://t.co/nq5i6ZAhcA
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1475847194000
It’s a wrap time #InfernoMovie last day with FelicityJones http://t.co/j05obrR7rD
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1435999902000
As superstars from around the world, including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan in India, Hollywood’s Oscar-winners Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Salma Hayek and former co-stars including Chris Pratt paying him their respects and remembering him for his exceptional talent and his good nature.
Besides both the film worlds uniting to mourn the loss of this talented man, several politicians and public personalities also came forward, expressing their grief over his passing. International news portals also heaped praises on the star who they regarded as “true star” and one who will always be remembered for his “modesty and integrity.”
In the theatre to watch Jurrassic world with inferno team in Budapest. http://t.co/XLLq4f3DNi
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1434222439000
A piece on hollywoodreporter.com read, “In a career that spanned over 30 years, Khan was a prolific film and television actor famous for his range as well as the humanity and intensity he brought to his roles… With the sheer breadth of his later work,
Khan arguably became the most widely known Indian actor working in the West.”
The PUZZLE team at @sundancefest …. https://t.co/39gVeydYfl
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1516879592000
Mark, Me , Kelly and @David_Denman … #ThePuzzle @sundancefest https://t.co/iFkDHVUJ2r
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1516683009000
New York Times film critic A.O. Scott praised Khan’s subtly calibrated leading role in the Indian romantic drama ‘The Lunchbox’ saying, “He relishes understatement, occasionally allowing the character’s suppressed emotion to peek out from behind his quiet, standoffish demeanour.”
Termed as one who ‘lacked the looks for a traditional Bollywood romantic lead’ several publications in the west couldn’t deny the fact as stated by CNN, “He was the rare Indian actor who found success in both Bollywood and Hollywood.”
Wishing the very best to @SirPatStew for @WolverineMovie at the upcoming awards season #Logan https://t.co/fQt10kgzKi
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1512981587000
A throwback to one of his many interviews with international news portals on various red-carpet occasions and film premieres, he once revealed that the only reason he ventured outside the box way because America allowed him to “push my boundaries as an actor.”
Me , Ritesh, Nimrat at Cannes for the film ‘The lunch box’ http://t.co/tLiEXbU4iN
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1369214576000
India / France official gala dinner , Cannes . http://t.co/TMvMwped5I
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1369215041000
‘Life of Pi director’ Ang Lee paid tribute to his ‘dear friend’ in a statement to Deadline.com that read, “Irrfan was a great artist, a true gentleman and a brave fighter. His passing away is cinema’s loss. We will miss him dearly. May you Rest In Peace, my dear friend.”
Yann Martel , his parents, ang , tobby…. http://t.co/yXqRpL6T
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1354081586000
a unique venue – the Piscine Pailleron swimming pool http://t.co/WPzRM1HH
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1355151121000
Ready to roll with @Golshifteh #fromlastnight #thesongofscorpions @FilmFestLocarno https://t.co/ic6d2fVvkU
— Irrfan (@irrfank) 1502345750000
Variety.com even dubbed him as a “crossover-success”.
Although he did taste success, time and again, the actor said that he too like most others, had to break through from their moulds and stereotypical roles that came his way by the hundreds. Considering that he was a Muslim, he said he received roles in hundreds to play terrorists in the Indian film industry and abroad. But he turned “If you are exploring the subject, then I am interested. But if you are encashing on the fear of people or you’re catering to the biases of people then it doesn’t do anything,” he said in an interview with Vice news.
Watch some of his videos below where he talks about subjects ranging from his film characters to the thought behind picking his Hollywood projects.