Irrfan Khan, India’s face in world cinema dies at 53

Khan, who recently returned to Mumbai after being successfully treated for neuroendocrine tumour, was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday after being diagnosed with colon infection

Khan, 53, is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and sons Babil and Ayan

Irrfan Khan, actor of acclaimed films like Life of Pi, Namesake, Haidar, Lunchbox and Hindi Medium, passed away on Wednesday (April 29) at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.

He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital on Tuesday (April 28) due to colon infection.

Khan, 53, is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and sons Babil and Ayan.

The actor, who in 2018 was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour had recently returned to Mumbai after months of treatment in London.

His hospitalisation on Tuesday had set the rumour mills abuzz with news of his death. His official spokesperson, however, had released a statement saying that the actor was “still fighting the battle.”

His team released an official statement after his demise on Wednesday.

“‘I trust, I have surrendered’”; These were the some of the many words that Irrfan expressed in a heartfelt 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,’” the statement read.

Announcing his condition on social media in 2018, the actor had told his fans that he will be away from the country for treatment.

He, however, had kept fans updated on his journey and battle with cancer.

Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar confirmed the news of his death on Twitter.

“My dear friend Irfaan. You fought and fought and fought. I will always be proud of you.. we shall meet again.. condolences to Sutapa and Babil.. you too fought, Sutapa you gave everything possible in this fight. Peace and Om shanti. Irfaan Khan salute,” he wrote.

An ailing Khan, unable to physically attend the funeral of his 95-year-old mother Saida Begum who died in Jaipur on April 25, due to lockdown restrictions had attended it via video conferencing.

Returning in 2019 after recovering from cancer, the actor shot the film English Medium, a sequel to his sleeper hit Hindi Medium. In February this year, Irrfan addressed his fans, saying that he will not be able to promote the film owing to health issues.

Khan, born in Jaipur of Rajasthan, after a stint in television in serials such as Chandrakanta, Bharat Ek Khoj, Banegi Apni Baat and Shrikant and character roles in films, landed his leading role in the 2005 film Rog.

He was best known for his performance in films like Maqbool and Piku. He won a National Award for his role in Paan Singh Tomar.

Irrfan was globally recognised for his performance in films like Slumdog Millionaire, Inferno and Life of Pi among many others.

Tributes pour in

The Bollywood film fraternity has expressed shock and anguish over the death of the actor.

Industry veteran Amitabh Bachchan said Khan’s demise has left a vacuum.

“Just getting news of the passing of Irfaan Khan .. this is a most disturbing and sad news .. An incredible talent .. a gracious colleague .. a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema .. left us too soon .. creating a huge vacuum,” he tweeted.

Actor Shabana Azmi, who shared the screen space with Khan in Jazbaa, said his death was a big loss to the entire film industry.

Grieving the actor’s demise, acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor said it was sad to see  “India’s most successful export to Hollywood” and “a man loved by all” depart.

“An actor that every director wanted to work with. A human being that gave his best in every role. Indian film’s most succesful export to Hollywood. A man loved by all. Sad to see #IrrfanKhan leave us, after what we thought was suucesfull fight against cancer. God bess you Irfan ,” he tweeted

Taapsee Pannu, Mini Mathur, Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma and Parineeti Chopra were among the many personalities from the film industry who condoled the actor’s death.

 

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