Irrfan Khan’s birth anniversary: Five memorable roles in international films

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Irrfan Khan was considered one of the most multi-talented and respected actors in Hindi, American and British cinema. He sadly lost his battle with a rare form of cancer in April 2020. He did a wide range of roles across various genres, which showcased his acting prowess. It didn’t matter if he wasn’t playing someone of an Indian origin because he was naturally able to take on any character with ease and weave his own magic on screen. Khan’s legacy lives on through his films and it’s where fans can celebrate a life that entertained the masses.

On 7th January, Khan would have turned 54, BizAsiaLive.com looks at some of Khan’s memorable characters in international films on his birth anniversary.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (2008)
Although not playing a lead role in this Danny Boyle directorial, Khan took on the part of the police inspector who interrogates Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) over the legitimacy of him winning the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’. His screen presence was enough to make a strong impact and it is said that makers of the film wanted to cast Khan in any capacity, which spoke volumes about his credibility in the film industry. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (2008) went on to win eight Oscars.

‘Life of Pi’ (2012)
Another award-winning international film, and this time Khan essayed the character of Pi Patel who as an adult, recollects his time shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger to a novelist. The way Khan narrates the story in this film is very powerful, he delivers the drama, the adventure, and emotions with such conviction. The end scene particularly felt very poignant after Khan passed away with this line and captured the loss felt by all his fans: “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.”

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2012)
It’s said after appearing in the television drama ‘In Treatment’ (2010), Khan had impressed director Marc Webb who was keen on casting Khan in the fourth instalment of the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise. Khan played a negative role as Dr Rajit Ratha who had a vested interest in cross-species genetics which all goes terribly wrong. Again, not a huge part for Khan, however his character was integral to the plot of the film and his performance was appreciated by many.

‘Jurassic World’ (2015)
In this film, Khan is seen as Simon Masrani, owner of the Jurassic theme park. He was a visionary, an entrepreneur and a pretty laid back one for a successful businessman. Masrani had the privilege of being in the company of giants and even though his character’s actions would normally have been seen as arrogant and selfish, the calm and jovial personality meant you couldn’t help but find him likable.

‘Puzzle’ (2018)
The last of his international films, ‘Puzzle’ (2018) saw Khan playing the character of Robert, a former puzzle tournament champion who set out to find a tournament partner to compete in another championship. This film has a feel-good factor and once again demonstrates how talented Khan was, as he pulls you in through his charm and charisma. Even though the film was around a jigsaw puzzle, the metaphor could easily be applied to real life too and Khan’s dialogue delivery felt like he was speaking to you personally.

Khan’s demise has certainly left a huge void in the film industry and we hope and pray that wherever he is, he is at peace.

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