Bollywood great Irrfan Khan passes away at 53

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One of Bollywood’s best actors, Irrfan Khan, passed away at the age of 53 on Wednesday in Mumbai. He had been battling a rare form of cancer since 2018.

Irrfan is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and sons – Babil and Ayan.

The actor was admitted to Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on Tuesday, where was under observation for colon infection.

Irrfan lost his 95-year-old mother Saeeda Begum in Jaipur just three days ago. He could not attend his mother’s funeral because of the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.

His spokesperson confirmed the news with a statement, "'I trust, i have surrendered'; These were the some of the many words that Irrfan expressed in a heartfelt note he wrote in 2018, opening up about his fight with cancer. And a man of few words, and an actor of silent expressions with his deep eyes and his memorable actions on screen. It's saddening that this day, we have to bring forward the news of him passing away. Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him. After having been struck by lightning in 2018 with the news of a rare cancer, he took life soon after as it came and he fought the many battles that came with it. Surrounded by his love, his family for whom he most cared about, he left for heaven abode, leaving behind truly a legacy of his own. We all pray and hope that he is at peace. And to resonate and part with his words he had said, "As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it".

He had undergone treatment abroad for several months in 2019, working on just one project in that time, director Homi Adajania’s Angrezi Medium.

He was one of the few Indian actors who tasted big success, both in Bollywood and Hollywood.

Irrfan, who was born Saahabzaade Irfan Ali Khan in Jaipur in 1967, was the son a tyre businessman.

He wanted to be a cricketer early in his life but did not succeed in the sport, and therefore went to an acting institute.

Tributes came from all over: Bollywood, Hollywood, the world of politics, and fans.

“Left us too soon,” tweeted Amitabh Bachchan.

Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar also tweeted his condolences for the actor.

"My dear friend Irfaan. You fought and fought and fought. I will always be proud of you.. we shall meet again.. condolences to Sutapa and Babil.. you too fought, Sutapa you gave everything possible in this fight. Peace and Om shanti. Irfaan Khan salute," wrote Shoojit, who directed Irrfan in Piku.

Khan made his screen debut in the Academy Award-nominated 1988 drama “Salaam Bombay!,” a tale of Mumbai city’s street children.

The acclaimed actor was also involved in blockbusters such as “Slumdog Millionaire,” which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009. He portrayed the park executive Masrani in “Jurassic World" and also appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the adventure fantasy “Life of Pi.”

He worked with directors like Mira Nair, Wes Anderson and Ang Lee.

The actor in 2018 had been diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine cancer and underwent months of treatment in the United Kingdom.

After his return in 2019, he shot for 'Angrezi Medium', the sequel to his 2017 hit 'English Medium'. However, his health condition prevented him from promoting the movie, which hit the theatres in March just before the lockdown that began on March 25.

Irrfan, who straddled the world of both Hindi and world cinema with equal elan, has given memorable performances in films such as 'Haasil', 'Maqbool', 'Paan Singh Tomar', 'The Namesake', 'Life of Pi' and 'The Lunchbox'.

Khan won a number of domestic film awards in India, including a 2012 Indian National Film Award for best actor for his performance in “Paan Singh Tomar,” a compelling tale of a seven-time national champion athlete who quit India’s armed forces to rule the Chambal ravines in central India.

Khan received an Independent Spirit Award for supporting actor in 2006 Indian-American drama “The Namesake” and a viewers’ choice award at the Cannes festival 2013 for his role in Indian romantic drama “The Lunchbox.”

Irrfan Khan was a Padma Shri awardee (2011) and had won many awards during his 30-year career. He won a National Film Award and four Filmfare Awards.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 2018, Khan had said: “I’ve seen life from a completely different angle. You sit down and you see the other side and that’s fascinating. I’m engaged on a journey.”

Khan's last Bollywood movie, “Angrezi Medium,” a sequel to one of his biggest hits, “Hindi Medium” (2017), was released before India went into a lockdown in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With inputs from PTI, AP

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