The world lost a great acting talent on April 29, when Irrfan Khan lost his two-year battle with cancer.
Parikshit Balochi, fan and presenter on Dubai’s Breakfast No 1 – City 1016, commented on his passing: “The Indian film industry has lost an ‘artist’. That word is very rarely used in Bollywood, because you’re either usually an actor or a superstar. Irrfan Khan may not have had a fan following as big as other actors in Bollywood, but he was definitely one of the most loved people in the fraternity. His demise feels like a personal loss to many Indian cinema fans because of his simplicity, the roles he played, and his portrayals of the struggle of the real common man in India.” He continued: “He was one of those rare breeds of actors who was praised by both the masses and the critics. One of my favorite anecdotes about him is that despite growing up in a very small place called Tonk, where he went from not even being able to afford a movie ticket to watch Jurassic Park, he went on to play a character that owns Jurassic World in the next one. He will be sorely missed.”
Khan proved himself to be a versatile and formidable talent that managed to break the global film world to become a beloved household name. Here are some of his best movies that do that name perfect justice:
Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, this Vishal Bhardwaj film shot Khan to fame. His critically acclaimed performance follows the story of Maqbool, the right-hand man of a dangerous and powerful gangster. The plot takes a dark turn when he falls in love with his boss’s mistress and kills him off, eventually taking up the mantle as head honcho himself. Available on Hotstar.
Paan Singh Tomar
Tigmanshu Dhulia’s flick won Best Feature Film back in 2012. Khan brings life to the tale of a gold-medal winning athlete, but when his mother is murdered with no justice, he finds himself on the dark side of the law. Said to be based on a true story, this is an edge of your seat thriller. Available on Netflix.
Life in a… Metro
Certainly a turning point in Khan’s career, this movie earned him a Filmfare award for the Best Supporting Actor. It tells the story of nine individuals whose lives get very complicated when their fates intertwine. Khan’s character is readable and poised. The film also has a fantastic soundtrack that will transport you back to the early 2000s. Available on Netflix.
This BAFTA-nominated movie tells the story of an unlikely bond formed between two strangers over food and letters. The film was a hit both on the festival circuit as well as in the box office. Available on Netflix.
Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning film is the loose adaptation of the novel Q & A by the Indian author Vikas Swarup. It tells the story of 18-year-old Jamal Malik from the Juhu slums of Mumbai. Khan proved that he had what it took to win over Hollywood when he played the role of a police officer in this huge blockbuster hit.
This is a typical rag to riches story. It’s Khan’s highest-grossing film of all time, and it also won him a Filmfare award. In a beautiful performance that sees him mastering comedy as well as straight acting, this is one of his finest screen successes. Available on Netflix.
This 2015 film tells the real story of the double murders of 13-year-old Aarushi Talwar and house help Hemraj Banjade that took place in 2008. Khan’s character head’s up the investigation at the helm of the Delhi Police. His role as the hardened cop was a triumph and the film went on to win two National Awards. Available on Netflix.