Born in Rajasthan into a family of Pathan ancestry, Irrfan Khan showed interest in acting from his childhood days. He did several stage performances in Jaipur.
He completed his Master’s in Jaipur before joining National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi in 1984 to study acting.
Despite many saying that he ‘lacked the looks’ for a traditional Bollywood romantic lead, Irrfan was one of Indian cinema's finest actors. In a career spanning three decades, he starred in some of the most celebrated and remembered works of Indian and international cinema – Salaam Bombay! (his debut), Maqbool, The Namesake, Life in a Metro, Paan Singh Tomar, The Lunchbox, Haider, Piku, Qissa, Talvar, Hindi Medium, and more. His last film, Angrezi Medium, released in March.
He also found a following in Hollywood with productions like Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Jurassic World, The Amazing-Spider Man, and the HBO series In Treatment.
His work fetched him widespread recognition, including a National Award (for Paan Singh Tomar) and a Padma Shri (India’s fourth-highest civilian honour) in 2011.
In March 2018, Khan revealed via a tweet that he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour. He sought treatment in the UK for a year, returning to India in February 2019.
Despite his worsening health condition, he managed to complete the shoot of his last movie, Angrezi Medium. However, the actor had to skip the promotions due to health complications.
He has succeeded not only in connecting with his audience at an intellectual level but emotionally too. He passed away on April 29, at the age of 53.
As we deeply condole the loss of the legend, here are 15 quotes by Irrfan Khan who has taught us that hardwork and determination always pays back.
“Failure is there to teach you something so that you can go beyond that. There is a lesson hidden in there.”
“Honour and disgrace are not in your hands.”
“You cannot reduce the power of story with the tag of money because it's not a share market. So you must know the seriousness of the power of storytelling.”
“The sign of a good society is where talent is respected.”
“What happens with every role, you have to trick yourself, you have to creatively find ways to explore the mental state of your character.”
“I can't think of a more pathetic situation for an actor than to do a film and not connect to it. And I pray to God that I never face that situation.”
“People like to see my work not face.”
“A film engages you emotionally and intellectually.”
“Maybe to become famous is to reassure yourself that whatever you're lacking inside, you've fulfilled that.”
“The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control.”
“Wanting fame is a disease and one day, I will want to be free from this disease, from this desire. Where fame doesn’t matter. Where just experiencing life and being okay with it is enough.”
“When you are young you are fascinated by so many things. Some things drop, some stay. I can be without anything but I cannot be without nature.”
“I have never looked to create an image where people fall in love with my face or style. Yes, it does cross my mind. But I’ve been trying to create a space for myself where I don’t depend on that.”
“Language doesn’t make one an elite.”
“It pains me when a film actor or a cricketer is a youth icon. I don’t have anything against them. They are great entertainers; they are useful to society. They contribute to people’s lives. But they are not heroes.”
Edited by Kanishk Singh