“और जान से मार देना बेटा। हम रह गए ना, तो मारने में देर नहीं लगाएंगे, भगवान कसम”
(Aur Jaan se maar dena beta. Hum reh gaye na, toh maarne mein der nahi lagayenge, Bhagwan kasam)
Sadly, the voice that made these dialogues of the film timeless, the dialogue that gave Rannvijay Singh’s villainous character even more recognition than the protagonist-hero of the movie—unfortunately, that voice has been silenced, forever.
29 April 2020 has given such a telling blow to the Indian cinema and its lovers that it will be extremely difficult to cope from this hit. The once in a lifetime actor Irrfan Khan died yesterday at Kokilaben Hospital. He had been suffering from colon infection for a long time, due to which he had also undergone chemotherapy. We lost a gem, an actor but most importantly an amazing human being that was admired by all and even in the wake of a global pandemic he reunited us all. Such was his power, such was his charisma.
Irrfan Khan’s untimely demise has engulfed the entire film industry and India in mourning. An industry where it is almost impossible to make a mark without a godfather or connections, Irrfan rose it above all and emerged as the brightest star in Bollywood which ultimately transcended any film borders.
Irrfan Khan was one of the few actors who did not care what the character was—he was like water, adapting to any challenging role thrown his way with utmost grace and poise. The air of unawareness around him despite being one of the most powerful actors in any room he walked in made him the humble person he was.
Not only his spellbound acting in the film left everybody wanting more but his effortless dialogues and its delivery that used to break into the hearts and minds of the audience. Just as he used to whisper romantic lines in his girlfriend’s ear, he used to threaten with ease. Be it the role of a hero or a villain, it was all easy-pickings for Irrfan who erased the difference between reel and real. Such was the power of his acting that he even gave silence a voice.
Will anybody believe that one of NSD’s most promising talent—Irrfan and his role in the Oscar-nominated movie “Salaam Bombay” was removed from the final cut of the movie.
Any ordinary actor would have been gutted but Irrfan took this adversity on his chin. He slowly made his mark in the Hindi film industry by doing small roles. Although he shone into limelight from the 2003 film Haasil. Set in the political background of Allahabad University, the film became a cult classic due to the arrogant nature of its leading villain Ranvijay Singh, which was brought to life on the silver screen by Irrfan Khan.
Though Irrfan’s character Rannvijay had grey shades, but the way he captured the tone of Allahabad University and the way he lived his character, he became a hero in the eyes of many even after being casted as a villain.
Several dialogues of Irrfan have become immortal in his filming career, such as “एक बात सुन लेओ पण्डित, तुमसे गोली वोली न चल्लई. मंतर फूंक के मार देओ साले…”, or even “अरे यार तुम्हरा ये हमेशा का लौंडियाबाजी का चक्कर जो है…अरे प्रेम लीला में इतना टाइम वेस्ट ना करो. कुछ हासिल नहीं होगा।
Irrfan also received the Filmfare Award for Best Villain in 2004 for this outstanding performance. After this, there was no turning back for the doe-eyed actor. He started getting the recognition he thoroughly deserved with some going as far as comparing him to the iconic villain of Indian cinema history “Pran” Sahab.
With his powerhouse performance, Irrfan could lit up any film, no matter how worn out the script was. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why even an average film like Gunday remained at the box office for a few days, courtesy the mighty acting shoulders of Irrfan.
It was Irrfan who earned several prestigious roles in Hollywood, breaking the traditional image of Indians. Irrespective of whether it was Slumdog Millionaire, The Namesake, Life of Pi, Inferno, or Jurassic World, Irrfan brought his acting finesse to the stage and carved an Indian identity by himself in Hollywood.
Despite being one of the most versatile actors around, Irrfan still roamed on the fringes of Bollywood. If we leave Shakespeare’s popular drama Macbeth’s adaptation Maqbool and Rog, Irrfan was dubbed as a side-actor in his heydays.
But all this changed when Paan Singh Tomar hit the theatres under the direction of Tigmanshu Dhulia in 2012. It was a story about how a former Indian player is forced to take the law in his hand. Irfan lived the character effervescently and it resonated so much with the audience and critics likewise that it catapulted him to the status of one of the modern greats.
The movie did not have any epic hero sequences, no cut-throat action sequence, no item song but still, Paan Singh Tomar and Irrfan Khan with his excellent dialogues and phenomenal acting dominated the box office. Irrfan won the National Award for Best Actor for this outstanding role.
In films like D-Day, Talwar, Caravan, Hindi Medium, he left an unmatched impression of his performance. Not only did he tickle the funny bones of the audience with his performance in Hindi medium and caravan, but he also asked very serious yet pertinent questions to the society.
Irfan’s life was such that despite battling endocrine tumor, he not only completed the movie English medium, but also brought his character to life with full aplomb. He made even television ads watching experience worthwhile. From a Chhota Vodafone recharge to his unique style of presenting Syska LED’s, Irrfan aced everything he laid his hands upon.
Today Irrfan Khan is no more with us, but with his performance and his impeccable personality, he has adorned us with a life that will act as a guiding light to every dreamer out there who is trying and looking to make his mark around. He has left us all with his memories that will live and linger with us till we all perish in the sands of time. Adios, Irrfan, Rest in Peace. We love you 3000.