Actor Irrfan Khan breathed his last on Wednesday after a prolonged battle with cancer. The news of his demise left his fans and admirers in aghast. Besides Indian film fraternity, Hollywood filmmakers and British actors also paid tribute to this gem of world cinema. Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, Star Wars actor Riz Ahmed are among those in Hollywood who condoled the death of Irrfan Khan.
Irrfan featured in Hollywood movies such as Jurassic World, Inferno, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, The Namesake, The Darjeeling Limited, The Amazing Spider-Man to name a few.
Colin Trevorrow, who directed Irrfan in his international outing Jurassic World, shared a photo of the actor from his last movie Angrezi Medium and wrote, “Deeply sad to have lost #IrrfanKhan. A thoughtful man who found beauty in the world around him, even in pain. In our last correspondence, he asked me to remember “the wonderful aspects of our existence” in the darkest of days. Here he is, laughing.”
Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, also paid tribute to the actor, saying: "Irrfan was a wonderful actor and a pivotal figure in the making of Slumdog Millionaire. It wasn’t a huge role, in fact on paper it was even less rewarding looking. But Irrfan saw the possibility of guiding our audience with his dignity, his grace, his charm, his intelligence and his calmness, through this crossword puzzle of an idea, of a film”.
“He also reassured one of our most significant partners on the film, Peter Rice of Fox Searchlight, who as a friend before he was involved in the film told me cast Irrfan Khan in it, whether there was a role for him or not, he said: ‘Just get that guy’.
“And then he said, he bought the film, he ended up buying the film and releasing it to put it on its trajectory towards the Academy Awards, and he was no doubt partly enticed by the fact that indeed we had got Irrfan Khan. So thank you Peter Rice, thank you Irrfan Khan for a match made in heaven”, Boyle said as quoted by BBC.
"A grateful fan of #IrrfanKhan here. Gone too soon. When he is on screen, you can’t take your eyes off of him. He lives on in his films," Academy Award nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted along with one of Irrfan's black and white pictures.
Rise of the Guardians' director Peter Ramsey joined in heaping praise on Irrfan's work in one of his films, The Lunchbox. "I can’t believe it. A genius. So great in THE LUNCHBOX. I’m devastated," he tweeted.
Irrfan's The Warrior director, Asif Kapadia shared a picture of the actor from his film, saying: “Love you Irrfan bhai".
“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 work was consistently transcendent, he was a guiding light for so many of us. If you’ve not seen his work, watch The Lunchbox or The Warrior. A true artist who spanned Bollywood and Hollywood and was acclaimed in both. His words in a letter to a newspaper about his illness are a reminder of his beautiful mind and of life’s fragility. His work will live on," Star Wars actor Riz Ahmed wrote on Twitter.
Despite his international success, Irrfan never left India. “I keep getting interesting offers. If I were younger, I might have thought of relocating to Hollywood. But I never really felt like leaving India. My people are here and so are my stories. Today, small and unconventional films are redefining cinema in India. And I am happy to be part of this brave, new world. Hollywood is just a bonus,” he said in a Hindustan Times Brunch interview.
Irrfan is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and sons Babil and Ayaan.