Irfan Khan died: Life of Pi actor dies from colon infection, Aged 53

Irfan Khan - THE PR NEWS
Irfan Khan - THE PR NEWS

Irfan Khan, possibly the best method actor of Indian Cinema has died aged 53, was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in 2018 and had been admitted to the intensive care unit of Mumbai's Kokilaben hospital on Tuesday with a colon infection and left a vacuum that can not be filled. A boy born in Jaipur, Rajasthan to a Muslim family, moved to Mumbai around 1984 and in 1988's Salaam Bombay - directed by first-timer Mira Nair - his part was slashed to a cameo.


He sobbed for hours when he found out about the cuts; he told India's Open magazine.


I was prepared for anything after that," he said.


In the very beginning of his carrier he acted in numerous television serials, including Chanakya, Bharat Ek Khoj, Sara Jahan Hamara, Banegi Apni Baat, Chandrakanta, Shrikant, AnooGoonj on Doordarshan, Star Bestsellers.



He did several television roles followed, along with a handful of bit parts in Bollywood, where producers routinely dismissed him as looking too unconventional to play the lead.


By the time British director Asif Kapadia cast him as a mercenary in The Warrior, he was ready to quit acting, frustrated over the direction of his career.


But, in a sign of the global success that lay in wait, the 2001 film racked up awards and won Khan praise - including in India, where a new generation of directors was eager to experiment with fresh storylines.


His drama school training came in handy when he was cast in Maqbool and Haider - contemporary Hindi adaptations of Macbeth and Hamlet.


But he also charmed audiences in lighter fare such as Piku, featuring Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, and The Lunchbox, in which he played a lonely accountant in the role.


The tall and lanky actor won India's national award for his performance in Paan Singh Tomar.


He was also awarded Padma Shri, one of the country's highest civilian honours.


Khan was among the first Indian actors to make a consistent mark in Western Cinema, following earlier crossover pioneers like Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth and Om Puri.


He featured in several award-winning international films such as The Warrior, Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.


In Hollywood, he worked in The Amazing Spider-Man, Inferno and Jurassic World.

He consciously sidestepped traditional Bollywood tropes, focusing on the subtleties of his craft.


This allowed him to carve out a stellar career in Hollywood as well, where he collaborated with Oscar-winning directors such as Danny Boyle and Ang Lee and appeared in the HBO show In Treatment.


The actor was last seen in Bollywood comedy, Angrezi Medium, which was released in March.

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