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Gone too soon! Film industry, international stars unite to express grief at Irrfan Khan's death

The 53-year-old actor died this morning in a Mumbai hospital where he was admitted yesterday after his condition worsened following a colon infection.

File photo: Shutterbugs Images

The Cinestaan Team

In his death, Irrfan Khan may have acquired that sheen of immortality that only a handful of artists get. The great actor's demise at the relatively young age of 53 has left many of his peers, colleagues and fans shocked and in grief. From Ava DuVernay to Akshay Kumar and Sudhir Mishra, actors, directors, and other members of the global film industry mourned his passing.

Director Anubhav Sinha, a close friend and colleague, put up a touching post. "You had so much more left to do," said the director, addressing Khan.

Directors Sudhir Mishra and Hansal Mehta also took to social media to share their grief at the sudden demise of an actor unequivocally acclaimed as one of the best in contemporary Indian cinema. 

Producer-director Mahesh Bhatt, who gave Irrfan Khan his first break as a leading man in mainstream Hindi cinema in Rog (2005), shared a verse from the film's song as a description of the actor's ability to take what comes his way with a smile.

Sanjay Mishra, Irrfan Khan's junior at the National School of Drama in Delhi, found it difficult to speak when Cinestaan got in touch. "For now, all I can do is look towards the hospital where he has been kept. I don't know what else I can do," he said, his voice breaking. "I really can't speak."

Irrfan Khan was an actor who bridged the gap between radical independent cinema and commercial films and his passing has been widely mourned. Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn also shared their sorrow. 

Actor Kay Kay Menon, who began his career in the 1990s when Khan was also trying to find his feet in cinema, sounded emotional as he told Cinestaan.com, "I am at a loss for words at the moment. It is too much of a shock. It is difficult to talk at this moment, but all I can say is that he is perhaps one of the greatest of my generation."

Describing Irrfan Khan's acting ability, Menon said, "He was an artiste who belonged to a generation that redefined performances on the screen. The fact that he stuck to his guns in terms of what he wanted to do, he didn't allow people to take him for granted, it is a very good quality to have. He gave us some wonderful gems as performances. He will be sorely missed."

Menon added: "I think it is a bit too unfair. It is completely unfair. He had years and years of stuff to give us."

Irrfan Khan's co-star from his penultimate film Karwaan (2018), Southern star Dulquer Salmaan, shared a post on Instagram praising the actor's presence. "You were kind, witty, charming, curious, inspired, compassionate and always fun," wrote the younger man.


Can’t wrap my head around this. You were this humongous talent, a living legend, an international movie star. And yet, you treated all of us on Karwaan and everyone you met, as equals. By some ease of your nature, you made us all feel like family. You were kind, witty, charming, curious, inspired, compassionate and always fun. I observed you the entire time like a student and a fan. Thanks to you, all through shoot I had a constant smile plastered on my face. I laughed endlessly, struggled to keep a straight face,and so often stared at you in absolute awe. In return you always had that grin. That amused grin at the world. Almost like it surprised you at all times. It’s how I’ll always remember you. 💔 #thehappiestofsouls

A post shared by Dulquer Salmaan (@dqsalmaan) on

Actress Mithila Palkar, who, like Dulquer Salmaan, made her debut in Hindi cinema with Karwaan, also shared her memory of Irrfan Khan.

Such was Irrfan's presence and body of work that his death has drawn condolences from across industry lines. Hollywood director Ava DuVernay doffed a hat to Khan's charismatic screen presence.

Khan made his mark in several international projects, including The Namesake (2007). Actor Riz Ahmed shared his tribute to the actor, calling him "an inspiration and a hero".

Khan's death was mourned even in other areas of human excellence, such as sports. Television presenters Harsha Bhogle and Alan Wilkins too joined the mourners online. 

Prime minister Narendra Modi shared his condolences for the actor, followed by several politicians, proving that Khan's impact went far beyond the film screen.

Konkona Sensharma, who featured with Irrfan Khan in Anurag Basu's slice-of-life film Life In A... Metro (2007), shared a touching tribute to the actor.

Rajkummar Rao, another of Hindi cinema's current lot of excellent artistes and a junior of Irrfan Khan in the industry, shared memories of learning from the late actor and listening to his conversations on art. 

Ayushmann Khurrana shared a short tribute to Irrfan Khan.

Irrfan Khan was laid to rest at 3pm at the Versova cemetery in suburban Mumbai in the presence of his family and close relatives and friends.