But, according to his biographer, Irrfan Khan has not let fame rise to his head.
Khan, known internationally for his roles in “Life Of Pi” and “Slumdog Millionaire”, died on Wednesday, officials said. He was 53 years old.
According to his public relations agency, he was admitted to intensive care at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai due to a colon infection. In March 2018, Khan revealed that he had been diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine tumor – an abnormal growth that begins in specialized neuroendocrine cells in the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Khan was widely loved in India, but also scored the kind of roles in Hollywood that no other Indian actor has managed to secure, according to Aseem Chhabra, a film journalist who wrote a biography on Khan titled “Irrfan Khan: the man, the dreamer “. , the star. “
Its success in both film industries has caused a wave of online grief both in India and abroad.
A “very warm guy”
Khan was born in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. He came from a modest middle-class family who didn’t dream of celebrity cinema, said Chhabra.
Khan attended the National Theater School in the country’s capital, New Delhi – but according to Chhabra, his mother hoped that Khan would return home and become a teacher.
Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar in “Hindi Medium” (2017) Credit: Maddock Films
Nevertheless, Khan began his acting career. After playing mainly supporting and character roles for more than a decade, he landed lead roles in the early 2000s, starring and winning his first prize for the 2004 film “Haasil”.
He quickly gained national recognition in the following years, with roles in other nominated and winning films like “Life In A … Metro” and “The Lunchbox”. While many Bollywood stars in India play song, dance, romantic roles, Khan tends to play more serious roles, said Chhabra.
In 2007 Khan appeared in the American productions “The Namesake”, “A Mighty Heart” and “The Darjeeling Limited”.
The following year, he had his big break.
Irrfan Khan and Dev Patel in “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) Credit: Celador Films / Film4
Khan achieved international fame in 2008 when he played a police detective in the crime drama of British director Danny Boyle “Slumdog Millionaire”, which won eight Oscars and seven BAFTAs. “It opened very big doors for him,” said Chhabra.
Khan then played a more important role in “The Life of Pi”, where he played the eponymous Pi. The film has won several Golden Globes and Academy Awards.
He has also played supporting roles in major American films like “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Jurassic World” and “Inferno”.
Despite his success both at home and abroad, Khan has remained humble, said Chhabra.
“There is a certain kind of celebrity that you can’t deny … but he hasn’t had the kind of arrogance that you often notice – especially in India. Irrfan was a very approachable and very warm guy. “
Khan’s legacy abroad
In Hollywood, South Asian actors are rare. This makes it all the more remarkable that Khan was able to break through.
A testament to Khan’s success was that he was sometimes played in roles that did not require a South Asian actor. “He had reached the stage where Hollywood producers were ready to launch him for what he could offer as an actor, without having to stress” look, he’s Indian “too,” said Chhabra. “This situation is emerging more and more. I hope there will be more change. “
Irrfan Khan in “Life of Pi” (2012) Credit: Fox 2000 Pictures
After Khan’s death, a number of foreign stars shared their sadness.
Riz Ahmed, a British actor of South Asian descent, described Khan as his inspiration and his hero.
The Academy, on the other hand, described Khan as “a pillar of Bollywood cinema and an incredible talent.”
Back in India, Khan will leave a different legacy – he helped broaden the idea of what an actor should look like in an industry where he is not the traditional idea of what is beautiful, said Chhabra.
In India, fans have inundated Twitter with support messages.