It's a dark day for Indian Cinema as one of the finest actor, Irrfan Khan, passed away at the age of 54. Angrezi Medium actor took his last breath at Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital today. He was admitted there yesterday due to colon infection.
Bollywood superstars including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone have mourned over the death of ace actor Irrfan Khan. He has been enthralling the audience with his brilliant performance over the last two decades.
Irrfan acted in many Bollywood gems such as Maqbool, Paan Singh Tomar, Haasil, Yeh Saali Zindagi, Piku and the latest Angrezi Medium. There are many movies that did not do wonders on the box-office but still considered as the milestone of Irrfan's career. One such movie was Mira Nair's 'The Namesake', based on the novel written by Jhumpa Lahiri.
Irrfan's 'The Namesake' and the story behind a brilliant performance
Released in 2006, 'The Namesake' became one of the iconic movies done by Irrfan Khan. Irrfan excelled in portraying the role of 'Ashoke Ganguli' an unobtrusive first-generation Indian immigrant settled in the US. He himself agreed that it was one of the most difficult role played by him and in an interview he disclosed that he even had an argument with the director Mira Nair while adapting the role.
Irrfan Khan and director Mira Nair's banter
Mira Nair is the name that gave Irrfan Khan his ticket to Bollywood through Salaam Bombay in 1998. He has great respect for the director and always enjoyed working with her. When the two again collaborated for 'The Namesake', they managed to deliver another classic. But during the process of making the movie, there was a time when Irrfan and Mira did not see eye to eye.
As per the report by the Times of India, Irrfan had an argument, Mira, over the pronounced Bengali accent, reasoning that a professor, whose job was communicating with his students in English, would have got rid of the accent in three decades.
When things got out of hand, Mira introduced Irrfan to Jhumpa Lahiri's father, who was a librarian at the University of Rhode Island and spoke exactly the way Mira wanted.
Irrfan's and his quintessential way of preparing for a role
Irrfan got inspired by Jhumpa's father and taped him so that he can learn the accent. In an interview, the trailblazer of Bollywood disclosed, "I taped him, without his permission, and listening to his voice, I slowly began to form a picture of Ashoke in my mind."
Irrfan did not expect The Namesake's character to create magic
Though Irrfan gave his heart and soul to Ashok's character but did not expect it to create magic on the box office or on the audience as it was not a masala movie. But to his surprise, the movie was adored by many.
It took Irrfan by surprise when people started calling him to congratulate for his brilliant performance. Many people told Irrfan that Ashok is a kind of character you come out of the theatre remembering.
Reminiscing the old days, he said, "One lady was crying in front of my photograph, another came up to thank me. Parents who saw it immediately called their children to recommend a watch and vice versa."
"After it came to India I got a lovely message from Sharmila Tagore who had taken my breath away in Apur Sansar saying, 'Thank your parents for giving you birth.' It was amazing that a film could strike a chord across generations and continents," he said.
'The Namesake' had a powerful cast which included Tabu, Kal Penn and Sahira Nair. The movie received applaud from the American critics as well.
Irrfan's Namesake co-star Kal Penn also penned down a heartfelt note on his demise which read, "Irrfan's art and humanity will be badly missed. Never seen someone use the beats of silence so beautifully to convey so much about who we are. Sending love to Sutapa and the family."
Irrfan Khan's funeral
Irrfan Khan, who died this morning, was buried in Versova kabrastan in Mumbai at 3 pm this afternoon soon after the news of his passing away was announced. Several known faces from Bollywood was spotted outside the hospital amid the lockdown such as filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj, who directed Irrfan Khan in Maqbool, Haider and 7 Khoon Maaf and Tigmanshu Dhulia who directed Irrfan Khan in the award-winning Paan Singh Tomar.
That's the beauty of a great actor you see. They will give every ounce of their existence to the role, even fight with the director to justify their characters and expect nothing in return. This the impeccable way in which Irrfan lead his life.