For many around the world, Irrfan Khan was a beloved actor known for his work in films like Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi and Jurassic World. But for Reshma Amanat and Nabila Qureshi living in St. John’s, he was family.
Amanat is Khan’s cousin and grew up with the late Indian actor. She remembers him as a calm child and has not seen success as a movie star on the radar.
” I never thought [he would be famous] “Said Amanat St. John’s morning show. “He was very shy, introverted and decent. A very innocent guy. “
Khan began his career as a Bollywood actor in 1988, but came through with a lead role in Haasil, a Bollywood drama released in 2003. After his stay in India, Khan went to Hollywood – paving the way for other Indian actors in Western cinema. He died last week at the age of 53 after a battle with cancer.
Amanat remembers seeing his cousin on the screen for the first time.
“When I saw his first film which was Haasil, and he received an award for this film, I was surprised to see him as a star, “she said. “He was a very good artist, and I was very happy to see his film, which I did not expect from him. When I saw [him] the last time, he was very ordinary… It was a big shock for everyone. ”
‘Larger than life’
Amanat’s daughter Nabila Qureshi first met Khan when she was about 12 years old.
“I think this may be the first time I have discovered our connection to him,” said Qureshi. “As a 12-year-old girl, it was no different than meeting the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber. It was larger than life. “
“We have sort of constructed this narrative that he could be like any other celebrity, somehow inaccessible,” she added. “But it was actually the exact opposite. He was very friendly, he was very accessible, and above all he was really humble… we chatted as if we had been meeting every day for several years. “
Condolences from around the world are pouring in on social media, speaking of Khan’s ability to connect with the public on a personal level. Qureshi said it was just who Khan was, and his ability to take care of people was clear in the conversations they had.
“Besides his job and his acting caliber, I think it may be simply because he was very real and accessible,” she said. “People when they looked at him never felt that they saw a celebrity, more so an actor who perfected his profession. “
Khan even gave advice on the career of Qureshi, who has stayed with her over the years while she has done some theater herself.
“He said it’s the storytelling aspect that always ends up winning,” she said. “Ultimately, if the story is not there, [the movie] doesn’t beat like a heart… It’s just golden advice that anyone in the industry would certainly say, but it came out of it much more. ”
The family has remembered Khan since his death, watching one of his movies every night since the news. Qureshi said reconnecting with Khan through his films has helped the grieving process.
It was a very pleasant experience and I think we find a sense of catharsis, and a kind of end to this sudden mourning process that we enjoy. ”
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