Sahabzade Irrfan Ali Khan (January 7, 1967 - April 29, 2020), credited as Irrfan Khan or simply Irrfan, was an Indian film actor known for his works predominantly in Hindi cinema as well as British and American films.

With a career spanning 30 years, he was credited with being one of the finest actors in Indian Cinema. 

In the west, his most well known roles were in the films Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, and Jurassic World.

Personal Life

Khan was born Shabzade Irfan Ali Khan in Rajastan into a Muslim family of Pathan (Paashtun) ancestry. He spent his childhood in Tonk District and Jaipur. It was in Jaipur that Khan was introduced to acting through noted theatre artists and his own uncle who was also a theatre artist.

On 23 February 1995, Khan married writer and fellow NSD graduate Sutapa Sikdar. It was a love marriage (the practice of arranged marriages being common in India) and they had two children, Babil and Ayan.

In 2011, Khan was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civillian honor.

Khan was fluent in Hindi and English. The later of which gained him roles in Western films.

Career

Indian Cinema

Khan's first film was Salaam Bombay! in a minor role that was cut from the final film. He continued on with Indian Television roles from the late 80s through the 1990s. It was in 2001 that Khan starred in the historical film The Warrior. His other major roles since then were in Road to Ladakh and Maqbool.

Khan's first Bollywood film role was in 2005's Rog. Critics praised his work in this film which led on to numerous other works in Indian films portraying leading characters, supporting major roles, and villains. One major film role was the Indian film New York in which Khan portrayed an American FBI agent dealing with the ramifications of the September 11, Attacks on Muslims and Indians.

Western Cinema

In 2008, Khan appeared in the British film Slumdog Millionaire as a Mumbai Police inspector. Aside from the British film crew and studio, the movie featured an entire Indian cast and was set in Mumbai and across India.

In 2012, Khan appeared in two major western films. The first was Sony Pictures' The Amazing Spider-Man as Dr. Rava. The second was Life of PI, an international co-production adventure-drama film. Khan portrayed the elder version of the film's protagonist, Piscine Molitor Patel. The film - a visual effects marvel - was critically acclaimed and Khan's role recieved positiviely. 

Jurassic World

In 2015, Irrfan Khan starred in the fourth film in the Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. He portrayed Simon Masrani, the billionaire owner of the Masrani Global Corporation, InGen, and the Jurassic World Theme Park. Khan did not reprise the role of his character in expanded media aside from audio recordings from the movie. His likeness of the character was used in promotional material and fictional websites such as the Masrani Global website and the Jurassic World website. 

Illness and Death

In March 2018, Khan revealed via a tweet that he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. He sought treatment in the UK for a year and returned to India in February 2019.

He was admitted to Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on April 28, 2020, where he started receiving treatment for a colon infection. On April 29, 2020, Khan passed away from the infection, age 53. Four days later on May 3, 2020, Khan's mother Saeda Begum, passed away at age 93.

Film personalities and literary figures around the globe paid tributes online upon the news of his death. Khan was buried at the Versova Kabristan in Mumbai and his last rites were performed by his sons.

Selected Filmography

  • Salaam Bombbay!
  • The Warrior
  • Maqbbool
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Haasil
  • Sainikudu
  • The Namesake
  • Life in a... Metro
  • New York
  • A Mighty Heart
  • Darjeeling Unlimited
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Life of PI
  • Jurassic World
  • Inferno
  • Angrezi Medium

Trivia

  • In the 2012 film Life of PI, Khan co-starred with and shared all of his scenes with British actor Rafe Spall. After Khan stared in Jurassic World  in 2015, Spall would later appear in that film's sequelJurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
    • Ironically, both Life of PI and Jurassic World saw Khan's characters being connected to zoos / wildlife. In the former, the fictional Pondicherry Zoo and in the later, the Jurassic World theme park.
  • In 2012, Khan changed the spelling of his name from Irfan to Irrfan, adding an additional 'r' into his name. He said the additional 'r' sounded right to his name. Later on he dropped using "Khan" when being credited in film.
  • In 2016, Khan starred in the movie Inferno, an adaptation of the Dan Brown novel of the same name. The film was directed by Ron Howard, father of Bryce Dallas Howard, Khan's co-star in Jurassic World.
    • The film also featured Omar Sy, another Jurassic World co-star.

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