More sad news today, as Bollywood icon, Irrfan Khan, who also became one of Hollywood's go-to character actors has died at the age of 53. He had been admitted to the intensive care unit of Mumbai's Kokilaben hospital on Tuesday with a colon infection and passed away on Wednesday after his health rapidly deteriorated. A statement was released this morning following his death.
"It's saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away," read the statement. "Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him."
Khan revealed in March 2018 that he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor, but, following extensive treatment, Khan had recovered well enough to shoot Angrezi Medium. Sadly, the movie would turn out to be his last, with the release cut short due to the ongoing global situation.
Khan carved out an incredibly successful career as an actor in his native India, appearing in such Bollywood hits as Haider and Hindi Medium. Khan had also transferred that success over to the west, where he starred in such blockbusters hits as Ang Lee's Life of Pi, Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World, as well as the comic book movie The Amazing Spider-Man, and Danny Boyle's Academy award-winning Slumdog Millionaire.
Irrfan Khan was born Saahabzaade Irfan Ali Khan in Jaipur in 1966. He was the son of a tire seller and went to drama school after failing as a cricketer. At first, he struggled to make an impact in the movie industry and, despite being cast in a small role in the 1988 Hindi-language drama Salaam Bombay!, Khan could only manage to find regular work on the small screen in soap operas.
Eventually, Khan's breakthrough role came in 2001 in the form of a low-budget samurai-esque tale entitled The Warrior. The movie was directed by unknown British talent Asif Kapadia and starred Khan as Lafcadia, a warrior in feudal Rajasthan who attempts to give up the sword. Khan subsequently broke into mainstream Indian films, often playing cops or villains.
Khan also found similar success in British-American cinema, playing the chief of police in Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart, and another police officer in Slumdog Millionaire. He also became a reliable character actor and cast a villainous presence over both The Amazing Spider-Man and Jurassic World. Khan was so well respected and well regarded in Hollywood that director Wes Anderson specifically wrote a small role for Khan in his film The Darjeeling Limited just so they could work together.
Even with his global status as one of Bollywood's biggest stars, Khan had garnered a reputation for modesty and integrity, and the news of his death has sent India into collective mourning, prompting actors, fans, and politicians from across the world to express their sadness at his death.
Fellow Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan said Khan's death has left a "huge vacuum". "An incredible talent, a gracious colleague, a prolific contributor to the world of cinema ... left us too soon" he said of Khan.
Actress Priyanka Chopra also paid her respects, saying "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. Irrfan Khan you will truly be missed. Condolences to the family."
The Indian politician Rahul Gandhi described Khan as a "versatile and talented actor; he was a popular Indian brand ambassador on the global film and TV stage. He will be greatly missed."