Irrfan Khan: A Look At The Life And Legacy Of The Indian Film Star

Irrfan Khan, one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, passed away at the age of 53. The Illuminerdi celebrates his prolific work and generous spirit.
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The legendary icon Irrfan Khan, one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, passed away at the age of 53. The actor had been battling cancer for the last two years.

In March 2018, the Bollywood star revealed he was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor, an uncommon cancer type that can occur almost anywhere in the body. Khan underwent months of treatment in the UK. He died in Mumbai on Wednesday 29th, after being admitted to an intensive care unit for a colon infection on Tuesday.


Sadly five days earlier, Khan lost his 95-year-old mother, who died in Jaipur. He could not attend her funeral because of India’s nationwide lockdown, but he was present via video call. Indian media also reported that Khan’s last words were about his mother, known as “Amma” in Hindi: “Amma has come to take me.”

Irrfan Khan’s last film was Angrezi Medium, the sequel to the 2017 comedy Hindi Medium, which hit the screens days before the lockdown was announced. His innocent portrayal of a father willing to go against all odds for his daughter was much lauded by fans. Due to the lockdown, Angrezi Medium stopped playing in theatres and was later released on an OTT streaming platform.

Irrfan Khan’s Notable Career

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Irrfan was one of Hindi cinema’s most magnetic actors who also had achieved considerable success in the west. He is known for his versatility as an actor. Khan can make an impression in any type of role with his strong screen presence, amazing acting skill, and dominant voice.

The journey of Irrfan Khan can be summarized as a boy who couldn’t afford to buy a ticket to watch the first Jurassic Park but went onto play the owner of in Jurassic World, which was phenomenal. Khan’s career spanned over 30 years and earned him numerous accolades, including a National Film Award, an Asian Film Award, and four Filmfare Awards. In 2011, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour.

After graduation from the National School of Drama in New Delhi, Irrfan’s got a small role in Mira Nair’s Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay! in 1988. After a string of minor movie and TV roles in the ’90s, Khan’s breakthrough came in the 2001 film The Warrior, the directorial debut of British filmmaker Asif Kapadia – which won the Bafta Award for best British film, propelling both actor and director into the spotlight.

In 2003 the actor made a landmark for his career, between his Award-winning performance as the villain in Haasil and his critically acclaimed lead role in Maqbool, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. With this, he became a popular actor in India. Even within India, he had stepped outside Bollywood and played an antagonist in Telugu film Sainikudu in 2006.

For more on Irrfan Khan’s importance to both Bollywood and Hollywood, go to the next page: