Irrfan Khan, International Star of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Jurassic World,’ Dies at 53
Since 2018, Indian actor Irrfan Khan has been battling cancer. Today, Al Jazeera brings the news that Khan has passed away just days after he was admitted to the hospital in Mumbai for a colon infection. He was only 53 years old.
His death was big enough news in his native India that Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted a tribute to the star:
English-speaking audiences are most familiar with Khan for his work in American and British productions, but achieving that international success was not easy. More, from Al Jazeera:
Born Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan in the Indian desert state of Rajasthan on January 7, 1967, Khan discovered an early passion for acting and studied at the elite National School of Drama. But his training in Shakespeare and Chekhov did little to ease his entry into the Hindi film industry, which was largely focused at the time on churning out formulaic song-and-dance blockbusters.
Khan’s breakthrough came when director Asif Kapadia cast him as the lead in the British film The Warrior, about a swordsman in feudal India. The film and played around the world, winning a bunch of awards and bringing Khan international attention.
Success in Bollywood and abroad followed. He had a key supporting role in 2008’s Oscar Best Picture winner, Slumdog Millionaire, and then began to appear more frequently in Hollywood movies and television. He starred in the third season of In Treatment and played the mysterious Dr. Ratha in The Amazing Spider-Man. For Ang Lee, he played the grown-up version of the title character in the Oscar-winning Life of Pi. A few years later, he essentially took over the Richard Attenborough role of the eccentric billionaire in the enormously successful sequel Jurassic World.
That was just five years ago; Khan should have had a long career ahead of him in Hollywood and Bollywood. Instead, he’s gone far too young, inspiring stunned but appreciative salutes like this one from Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan:
In a statement, Khan’s family wrote “Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him ... 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.”
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