“Teeno Khan Ko Takkar Dene Ke Liye, someone has arrived dude,” a legendary filmmaker had once paid ode to a rustic-looking actor with his own style of mannerisms equating him with the invincible Khans of Bollywood – Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir.
The actor he was referring to was none other than Irrfan Khan who riding on his perseverance entered the elite group of the Khans who have been ruling the roost since the last 25 years. One couldn’t have envisaged a better anecdote to sing paen to a bundle of talent who has shocked us out of our wits with his untimely demise. Yes, Paan Singh Tomar (his screen name of the biopic of the same name) has left for his heavenly abode and left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill. Yes, there is no iota of doubt about it and even a rigid and obstinate critic would second it.
Irrfan’s death would incur umpteen number of obits and condolences and quite justifiably but to yours truly, here was one actor-superstar who carved out his own niche and turned out to be a box-office winner complemented by critical acclaim that stands him apart.
Pakistani actress Saba Qamar who played Irrfan’s on-screen wife in ‘Hindi Medium‘ reacted with a heart-broken emoticon. She messaged eNewsroom, “I’m numb today, I still cannot accept the loss of a Brilliant co-actor Irrfan. I really am at a loss for words. It’s very heart wrenching for me to say Rest In Peace Irrfan. I really hope things were better between our countries and I could go see his family but my heartfelt condolences to his family. We lost a gem today. It’s a huge loss to the cinema world and I hope we become able to bear that. May his soul Rest In Peace of heaven.“
Films sold on his name – Paan Singh Tomar, Talvar, Hindi Medium, Haasil and let’s not forget his larger-than-life avatar on the poster of Yash Raj Filmed ‘Gundaay‘ that also started ‘bigger stars’ like Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. Doesn’t that say it all?
With due respect to the likes of Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Manoj Bajpayee and even Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan was the only actor who broke the myth that parallel cinema cannot produce crowd pullers.
Pakistani actress Saba Qamar who played Irrfan’s on-screen wife in ‘Hindi Medium‘ reacted with a heart-broken emoticon. She messaged eNewsroom, “I’m numb today, I still cannot accept the loss of a Brilliant co-actor Irrfan. I really am at a loss for words. It’s very heart wrenching for me to say Rest In Peace Irrfan. I really hope things were better between our countries and I could go see his family but my heartfelt condolences to his family. We lost a gem today. It’s a huge loss to the cinema world and I hope we become able to bear that. May his soul Rest In Peace of heaven.”
National-award winning actress Rituparna Sengupta is of the view that Irrfan himself didn’t know how powerful an actor he was. “Sad and devastated to know about the very sudden demise of one of the most powerful and greatest actors of our times. This is an irreparable loss and nothing can compensate this sorrow. His contribution to Indian cinema would be regarded with highest esteem,” she told eNewsroom.
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri who directed Irrfan in Chocolate considers him to be an actor of a different league. When eNewsroom asked him to explain why Irrfan was different, he said, “Generally when people join acting, they follow a big star or a particular school of acting. But Irrfan was the only actor who never followed anybody and his style of acting was so fluent that he never gave two takes on the set. He always surprised us on the floor. He always found the honesty of the moment and transcended into the character. What makes him different is the fact that he was original and that is the biggest quality that an artiste can possess. He created his own stardom on his own terms.”
Bengali actress Parno Mittra who played Irrfan’s on-screen daughter in the film Doob tells eNewsroom, “I don’t know what you mean by stardom but to me but he was an institution in himself and was one of the finest.”
Condolences have been pouring in on the social media. “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, (sic)” tweeted director Shoojit Sircar who worked with Irrfan in Piku.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan who worked with Irrfan in Piku says, “Just getting news of the passing of Irfaan Khan .. this is a 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 days. (sic)”
Akshay Kumar tweets, “Such terrible news…saddened to hear about the demise of #IrrfanKhan, one of the finest actors of our time. May God give strength to his family in this difficult time. (sic)”
Farhan Akhtar also tweeted, #IrrfanKhan was truly a one of a kind actor and the magic he brought to the screen will be sorely missed. RIP. #gonetosoon. (sic)”
Taapsee Pannu also paid her obeisance on Twitter, “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 for ever. You ARE the best we have #IrrfanKhan. (sic)”
Shraddha Kapoor who worked with Irrfan in Haider, writes, Very sad to hear about Irrfan sirs passing. 1 of our finest actors. A magician on the big screen; inspiring & igniting people’s hearts! I was excited beyond words to get the precious opportunity to share screen space with him in Haider. Will always be his fan & cherish those moments. RIP Irrfan sir. (sic)”
“The charisma you brought to everything you did was pure magic. Your talent forged the way for so many in so many avenues.. You inspired so many of us. #IrrfanKhan you will truly be missed. Condolences to the family, (sic)” writes Priyanka Chopra on Twitter.
Don’t they say it all? Forget the fact that he was considered to be the Indian face on global forum, let’s not dwell much upon how he brought laurels to the country with his volume of work – Irrfan was one actor who was comfortable in any kind of genre and was a director’s delight irrespective of the school of thought. On one hand, he does an Ek Doctor Ki Maut and Maqbool and on the other he doesn’t hesitate to be part of a multi-starrer Life…In A Metro and leaves his own stamp.
The Namesake actor tries to tickle the funny bone in Krazzy 4. And the list goes on and on… A product of the National School of Drama, Irrfan who dabbled in TV before foraying into films has always charted his own path at ease making him a hatke superstar. The friendly banter between SRK and Irrfan at an award show a few years ago may have been scripted, but it also spoke volumes of Irrfan’s charisma.
Irrfan charmed Hollywood with his memorable performances in Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.