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HomeFeaturesIrrfan Khan, one of India's finest actors, dies at 53

Irrfan Khan, one of India’s finest actors, dies at 53

With a career spanning over three decades, Irrfan Khan was one of India's few true crossover stars. He was admitted to a Mumbai hospital Tuesday following a colon infection.

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Mumbai: Acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan died Wednesday in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital where he was admitted on 28 April following a colon infection. He was 53.

Khan was admitted to the ICU as his health deteriorated, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Khan lost his mother, Saeeda Begum, less than a week ago in Jaipur, but couldn’t attend her funeral due to the nationwide lockdown.

The award-winning actor, who has worked in several Hollywood films too, was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in 2018 and had sought treatment for it outside the country. This, however, kept him away from filmmaking for more than a year.

Angrezi Medium was his first film since his diagnosis and fans were hopeful his health was back on track. The film’s release came just before movie theatres across India were shut due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was subsequently released on Disney+ Hotstar.

An unlikely career

Khan made his way up the Bollywood ladder of fame in an unconventional way — by doing off-beat, parallel cinema. Right from his 1988 debut in Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay!, Khan’s film choices were decidedly non-mainstream.

He even chose to play grey characters in films like 2004’s Haasil, which won him a Filmfare award, and Maqbool, Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Khan’s performance in the titular role established him as one of the finest actors in Hindi cinema. It was, however, not until Life in a…Metro (2007) that Khan shot to fame and caught the attention of mainstream Bollywood.

Only a year later, in 2008, he featured in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, one of the highest grossing international films that year. In fact, Khan was one of India’s few true crossover stars, with roles in A Mighty Heart, Life of Pi, The Amazing Spiderman, Jurassic World and more, including an HBO series called In Treatment.

Back in India, he his powerful performance in Paan Singh Tomar (2011) won him a National Award. He went on to deliver hits and critically acclaimed films like The Lunchbox, Gunday, Piku, Hindi Medium, Blackmail, and Qarib Qarib Singlle.

Khan is survived by his wife, Sutapa Sikdar, and their sons Ayan and Babil.

Also read:Om Puri, the actor par excellence who ruled both art and commercial cinema


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  1. I remember his action as a chief accountants department at Lunch Box.
    I respectfully express my condolences.

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