Directors Mira Nair, Ritesh Batra, Colin Trevorrow and Ava Duvernay and actors Kal Penn, Mindy Kaling and Freida Pinto led Hollywood in paying tribute to actor Irrfan Khan who died in Mumbai on Wednesday. He was 53.
Batra, who directed Khan in The Lunchbox, said “the light in our lives is gone”.
Freida Pinto, who worked with Khan in Slumdog Millionaire. wrote: “A VOID that can NEVER be filled because there was simply no one like Irrfan Khan. His grace and dignity along with his monumental talent as an artist, actor - a portrayer of humanity in all it’s shapes and forms made me not only have deep admiration for him but I instinctively wanted to emulate that grace in my career as well.”
Actor Kal Penn who worked with Khan in Mira Nair’s The Namesake said “Irrfan’s art and humanity will be badly missed.”
Director Mira Nair told Divya Unny for Open Magazine:
“I remember this scrawny young boy auditioning for me during Salaam Bombay (1988). He was unassuming, almost unaware of the fact that he was performing. He had this unique ability to just embody the environment he was part of, so much so that you would not notice him on set, unless you were really looking for him. When I had to edit out a few of his scenes from Salaam Bombay, I walked up to him and said that I was sorry. He had tears in his eyes, it was his first big break and it seemed like it wasn’t going to materialise. When the film was out, he called me and cried once again, and this time it was out of joy. We did The Namesake after that, and I will never ever forget the moments I spent with him. He made me and my stories better, and there will be nobody like him.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, called Khan an “incredible talent”.
Colin Trevorrow who worked with Khan in Jurassic World recalled the last correspondence he had with the actor.
Writer and showrunner Mindy Kaling called Khan her favourite actor and said: “You watched him onscreen and thought “I know that person!” in any role he played, even if he was being chased around Europe in a Da Vinci Code movie with Tom Hanks.”
Director Ava DuVernay wrote about watching the actor on screen and appreciating his work as a fan.
Actor Riz Ahmed wrote:
Indian-American actor Poorna Jagannathan called him the “best Indian actor”.
‘Community’ actor Danny Pudi said:
Outside of Bollywood, Irrfan Khan had a significant parallel career in Hollywood, with roles in films like Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Mira Nair’s The Namesake, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited.
Khan’s death, after a prolonged battle with cancer, was confirmed by a spokesman who said the actor was surrounded by family at the time. He is survived by his wife Sutapa and sons Babil and Ayan.