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Irrfan Khan, one of Hindi cinema's great actors, dies at 53

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Irrfan Khan, who had been battling a rare tumour since 2018, was rushed to hospital yesterday with an infection.

Our Correspondent

Actor Irrfan Khan died this morning at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in suburban Mumbai after a prolonged battle with a neuroendocrine tumour. He was only 53.

Irrfan Khan is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikdar and sons Babil and Ayan. He was laid to rest at the Versova cemetery at 3pm in the presence of his family and some close relatives and friends.

Khan was diagnosed with the cancer in 2018, just before the release of his film Blackmail (2018), and was in London for a long time to undergo treatment. In 2019 he returned to India, having seemingly won the battle with the cancer, and even shot for Homi Adajania's film Angrezi Medium (2020), a sequel to Khan's earlier hit Hindi Medium (2017).

Angrezi Medium, which co-starred Radhika Madan, Deepak Dobriyal, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Dimple Kapadia and was released in March, proved to be his final project. The film did not have a long enough theatrical run as the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the whole country was placed under lockdown.

Khan had made his debut in cinema with Mira Nair’s acclaimed film Salaam Bombay (1988). He also made his mark in a number of acclaimed and popular television serials like Katha Sagar (1986), Bharat Ek Khoj (1988), Chanakya (1991), Banegi Apni Baat (1993) and Chandrakanta (1994). He also continued to be part of some quality cinema with films like Drishti (1990) and Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990). 

In the first decade of the new millennium, the actor finally broke through into mainstream Hindi cinema and the public consciousness with a string of powerful performances in acclaimed and popular films like Haasil (2003), Maqbool (2004), Aan: Men At Work (2004), Life In A... Metro (2007), New York (2009), Paan Singh Tomar (2012), The Lunchbox (2013), Piku (2015) and Hindi Medium (2017).

Khan also had a wide and varied international filmography, making his mark in films like Mira Nair's The Namesake (2006), A Mighty Heart (2007), Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Ang Lee's Life Of Pi (2012), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and Jurassic World (2015). 

News of Khan's demise was revealed by his Piku director Shoojit Sircar. "My dear friend Irfaan. You fought and fought and fought. I will always be proud of you. We shall meet again. Condolences to Sutapa and Babil. You too fought, Sutapa, you gave everything possible in this fight," he wrote on Twitter. 

Just earlier this month, Khan’s mother Saeeda Begum had died. The actor could not attend her funeral in his hometown Jaipur in Rajasthan because of the lockdown.