By Muskan Bhatnagar
I sit here in the corner of my room, watching the sunset as I proceed to write this article, with tears in my eyes as a bunch of news articles surround me, all of them shouting the story of the legend’s untimely demise, Irrfan Khan.
29th April 2020, the world rose to the tragic news of the death of the finest actors of Cinema world, Irrfan Khan. Nothing could be more disheartening than losing a legendary actor like Irrfan Khan amid the ongoing pandemic. A piece of news which the world wanted to be false, a piece of news which broke millions of hearts worldwide, a piece of news that’ll take forever to sink in, a piece of news which made my heart scream “ why does this have to be real?”
Noon it is, and I receive a call from a friend. “Irrfan Khan is no more,” she said.
“What? Who died?” I ask. I heard her the first time but my mind and heart failed to believe.
“Irrfan Khan bro, Irrfan Khan “ she replied. My heart ached. I was not able to believe her words, or probably I didn’t want to.
I hung up the call, madly running towards the television to watch the news.
“Actor Irrfan Khan passes away at 53” the news anchor read. I stand there still, looking at the television with a blank face, not wanting to believe my eyes.
“We won’t get any Irrfan Khan movies now?, We won’t be able to see that beautiful smile on screen?, Wasn’t it too early for a gem like him to leave us? Who is going give us the best movies of the year?” so many questions cross my mind while I get flashbacks of his epic film scenes and dialogues.
“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”, his dialogue from the movie ‘Life of Pie’ seemed truly meaningful on this tragic day.
I return to my room teary-eyed and sit back. As I open my phone, I find out that the whole internet is flooded with grief. The world has had so many celebrity deaths, but this one was felt by each person. Why did the demise of Irrfan Khan feel like a personal loss? It was his aura, his screen presence, his power to make the screen alive, his ability to connect with every person through his films, his loyalty and devotion to his work, his unbeatable acting skills, his hard work and determination that made him the finest actor to ever exist in Bollywood.
Irrfan Khan started his film journey with a small role in the movie ‘Salaam Bombay!’ back in 1988 at 21 years of age, while he was still doing television and theatre. With his first film, Irrfan started getting roles and opportunities but his movies flopped until 2001. In 2001 Irrfan played the lead in the movie ‘The Warrior’ which made him popular as it opened in international film festivals. He was now a known face, but the turning point of his career was yet to come. ‘Maqbool’, released in 2003 was one of Irrfan’s greatest performances and was the turning point of his career. From then, there was no looking back. The legend went on to receive Padma Shri Award (2011) and National Award for Best Actor (2013). Irrfan made India proud as he acted in several Hollywood films like ‘Life of Pie’, ‘Jurrasic World’, and many more. If I go on to write down the list of his achievements and how extraordinary his performances were, then this article might just not end.
What makes his achievements even more admirable and his journey more beautiful is the fact that he came from a non-film background. He struggled his way to be on screen, he struggled to get lead roles, he struggled to pursue his childhood dream of being an actor. And like almost all other actors, he was not a man with six abs and perfect looks, hence he struggled to get accepted in the industry entirely on the basis of his skills and talent. Whatever he achieved in his life was through his hard work. “People love to see my work, not my face”, the effortless actor was once quoted saying.
It’s been all day since the news of his demise broke out. All my friends are talking about him but I haven’t come across even a single person who seemed like it didn’t affect them. My friends who don’t have much to do with films or Bollywood have been feeling low since they heard of it. As I said earlier, his untimely demise feels like a personal loss. I also came across another observation, that this man, the legend has absolutely zero haters. As I scroll through my Instagram feed, all that I find is tons of love and admiration for the man who left us today. We usually say that a person won “millions of hearts” but I won’t be wrong if I say that Legendary Actor Irrfan Khan won “all the hearts”.
I’m nobody but just another admirer of his work like millions out there. Still, there’s so much to pour out, so much to express. My heart aches as I think of it, my eyes get watery as I see those Instagram posts, my mind just doesn’t want to accept the reality. Here I go, pouring my heart out and paying tribute by writing this.
Irrfan sir, you undoubtedly are the best actor to ever exist, and a human that inspired millions out there. You started from television and you conquered Bollywood as well as Hollywood step by step. You ruled the Cinema world with your effortless acting and amazing work. I remember watching movies just because you starred in them, as your presence assured me that the movie will be a good one. The legacy you’ve left behind will stay with us until the end of time. You’ll always be remembered as the greatest actor of all time. Your work, legacy, and the inspiration you’ve given to us will remain immortal. Today, the world bows down in respect as you leave us. Maybe god was running out of gems so he called you up there. There was, there is, and there will never be another Irrfan Khan ever because you’re irreplaceable. No one, absolutely no one can do what you did. Thank you, sir, for entertaining us till the end of your life and giving us the best movies ever. You’re truly the greatest of all. Rest In Peace, sir.
YOUR GREATEST FAN