Irrfan Khan was one of the few Indian stars to seamlessly transition from Bollywood to Hollywood, while breaking the stereotypical barriers reserved for brown people in the West with his unconventional acting skills.
British filmmaker Asif Kapadia's "The Warrior" in 2001 gave a much-needed fillip to his career and an exposure to the West that opened new vistas. From there on, there was no looking back.
From pivotal roles in big budget tent poles like "Jurassic World", "Inferno" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" to critically acclaimed and successful crossover dramas such as "The Namesake", "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Life of Pi", Irrfan was India's first and biggest export to Hollywood. And he did all this without making any clamour about invading the West, and instead let his work do the talking.
Talking about his stint in “Life of Pi”, a clip from the film has gone viral that has made even the most coldest ones melt from within. The Ang Lee film is about an Indian man named "Pi" Patel, who is narrating his life story to a novelist. It's about how at 16 he survives a shipwreck and is adrift in the ocean on a lifeboat with a tiger. Khan essayed the older Pi Patel in the adventure drama.
During the interaction with the novelist towards the end, Khan states “In the end, I suppose, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”
Earlier in March this year, Irrfan asserted that he was not restless about getting back to work, but to get fit and fine. "No work was never my anxiety. I was restless to be fine, to be comfortable with myself," Irrfan told IANS.
For the actor, the battle with the disease brought a new meaning to life. "Unnecessary worry vanished...we miss out on life thinking let this happen and then I will enjoy that never comes if you can't enjoy now," Khan said.
Asked if he plans to take it slow professionally, the actor said: "Life first!".
On Tuesday, Irrfan was admitted to Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital with a colon infection. Although a statement issued by his spokesperson in the early hours of Wednesday had dispelled rumours about his health condition, the confirmation of his demise came later in the day.
The actor, diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in 2018, was still recovering from the disease after extensive treatment in London.
The actor was taking baby steps back into the acting world. He recovered well enough to complete the shoot of "Angrezi Medium", which was incidentally the last film to hit the screens in India before the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.