Irrfan: The handsome actor I met at Cannes

By Manju Mittal

I really can’t believe that ultimate gem of Indian cinema Irrfan Khan is no more. It is really tragic that Indian cinema lost a jewel. It’s a personal loss for everyone at this point in time. I think of everyone who have watched him in his movies or met him personally, it is absolutely a shocking news. Indian Cinema will not be the same without Irrfan Khan. Loosing loved one is so painful with COVID-19 this year, loosing Irrfan has brought worse news for all of us.

Sharing my memory here that I have of with Irrfan Khan in 2013 when I got a chance to meet him personally and converse with him during the premier of the film ”˜The Lunch Box’ at Cannes Film Festival. ”˜The Lunch Box’ which released in 2013 was the talk there as   the film was being screened in several prestigious Critics Week Viewers Choice Awards at the 66th Cannes Film Festival. It was a special year as India was also celebrating hundred years of Indian cinema.

I recall it was a rainy day in Cannes 2013 when I was coming out of the Media room and walking towards the main hall near the theatre, I spotted Irrfan Khan standing with the entire cast and crew of ”˜The Lunch Box’. I didn’t pay attention to the other cast of the film, they were new to me. When I got close , face to face, with Irrfan dressed in formal black suit, he looked, to put it simply extraordinarily handsome. I always found him very good looking, there he in person. I remember introducing myself to him, he smiled and said ”˜You have come from Australia, long way’, Irrfan continued walking with me heading to some function hall, I noticed film director Karan Johar also walking next to us. I pulled out my old small camera, and requested Karan to click my picture with Irrfan, giving instructions that ”˜you’ve got to hold the camera button for a few seconds and then click’, the moment I said that, both Karan & Irrfan started teasing me ”˜Agar isko aise nahi pakdenge to picture nahi aayegi’. It was a sweet beautiful moment with him and Karan which I will cherish forever.

Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan is no stranger to British films & Hollywood. The actor, who uses only his name, has played roles in acclaimed films such as ”˜Life of Pi’, ”˜Slumdog Millionaire’, and a ”˜Mighty Heart’ on top of his stellar roles in Bollywood hits like ”˜Piku’, ”˜Haider’, ”˜Hindi Medium’, ”˜Taxi No 9211’ and many more. These were the roles that only Irrfan could do from our film industry. He   was a master in assaying complex situations with ease and still carried them with amazing screen chemistry. Among all the Khans he stood apart in his most unusual way.   In his film career spanning almost thirty years and featuring in more than fifty films, Irrfan had received numerous awards, including a National Film Award and Filmfare Awards. In 2011 he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour for his contribution to the field of arts. “Life is no obligation to give us what we expect,” Irrfan had said.

Irrfan Khan had been admitted in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital with a colon infection on Tuesday and passed away on Wednesday, 29th April. Earlier he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour and had been under medical attention for the same. He even went abroad for treatment. After extensive treatment he recovered well enough to shoot ”˜Angrezi Medium’ with Kareena Kapoor, the film that would turn out to be his last, due for release this March which was cut short because of the Corona virus pandemic.

Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him. “A gracious colleague, a prolific contributor to the world of cinema, left us too soon”, tweeted Amitabh Bachchan. Irrfan Khan will always be on the wall of legends for his irreplaceable and effortless acting skills.



Short URL: