Sad news today. The star of many Bollywood, British, and American movies, Irrfan Khan, has died at the way-too-young age of 53. Irrfan was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor in 2018. This week he was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai for a colon infection, which was his official cause of death.
Irrfan is survived by his wife, Sutapa Sikdar, and two sons, Babil and Ayan.
His family released this statement. via Deadline:
“I trust, I have surrendered”; These were the some of the many words that Irrfan expressed in a heart-felt note he wrote in 2018 opening up about his fight with cancer. And a man of few words and an actor of silent expressions with his deep eyes and his memorable actions on screen. It’s saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away. Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him. After having been struck by lightning in 2018 with the news of a rare cancer, he took life soon after as it came and he fought the many battles that came with it. Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heaven abode, leaving behind truly a legacy of his own. We all pray and hope that he is at peace. And to resonate and part with his words he had said, “As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it.”
In an extra layer of sadness that reminds me of the Debbie Reynolds/Carrie Fisher double whammy, Irrfan’s 95-year-old mother died only four days ago. Because India’s in lockdown, he couldn’t attend her funeral. He had to watch it via video link. Irrfan’s own funeral has already taken place. Only 20 visitors were allowed to enter the cemetery to pay their respects. Aaaand, once again, fuck this pandemic.
In his 30+ years in Bollywood, Irrfan is known for countless hits such as Paan Singh Tomar, The Warrior, Haider, Gunday, The Lunchbox, and Hindi Medium. He also appeared in Hollywood movies like Jurassic World, Inferno, and The Amazing Spiderman.
I best remember him as the older version of Pi in Life of Pi, Kal Penn’s dad in The Namesake, and the police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire.
Here are some social media responses to Irrfan’s death, including condolences from the Prime Minister of India:
Irrfan Khan’s demise is a loss to the world of cinema and theatre. He will be remembered for his versatile performances across different mediums. My thoughts are with his family, friends and admirers. May his soul rest in peace.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 29, 2020
View this post on Instagram
Rest in peace one of the greatest actors of our time, Irrfan Khan. I never met him but he was an inspiration and a hero to me and millions of others. His performances were consistently transcendent, he was a guiding light for so many of us. If you have not seen his work watch The Lunchbox, or The Warrior. A true artist, he uniquely spanned Bollywood and Hollywood and was acclaimed in both. His words in a recent letter to a newspaper about his illness are a reminder of his beautiful mind and of life’s fragility. He touched so many in such a deep way – and in that way, he lives on.
Very sad to hear about our dear colleague Irrfan. How tragic and sad. Such a wonderful talent. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
Thank you Irrfan for all the joy you have brought to our lives through your work.
You will be fondly remembered.
— Aamir Khan (@aamir_khan) April 29, 2020
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. #IrrfanKhan you will truly be missed. Condolences to the family. pic.twitter.com/vjhd5aoFhc
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) April 29, 2020
And a reel of some of Irrfan’s roles:
Welp, of course this month couldn’t end without one last major “fuck you” from the universe. I mean, I hope it’s the last one. Knock on wood. Then bleach. Then toilet paper.