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Tributes pour in as the Hindi film industry mourns Irrfan Khan's death

Khan, who was battling a rare cancer since 2018, is remembered by colleagues and friends as a great actor, warm human being and a fighter.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

The Cinestaan Team

Actor Irrfan Khan's sudden death today came as a huge shock to the film industry. The 53-year-old was suffering from a rare cancer since 2018. His last rites were performed at 3pm today in Mumbai, in the presence of family members, some relatives and close friends.

Khan, who began his career with small roles in television serials like Bharat Ek Khoj (1988) and Chandrakanta (1994) and arthouse films like Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990), finally broke into mainstream Hindi cinema at the turn of 21st century. Khan was also one of the few Indian actors to successfully break into Hollywood.

Tributes have been pouring in for the actor from the Hindi film industry since the news of his death spread. Everybody, from actors to journalists, stand-up comedians to directors, mourned the loss.

Actress Deepika Padukone, Khan's co-star from the acclaimed Piku (2015), showed her grief by uploading a black image.


💔 #irrfankhan

A post shared by Deepika Padukone (@deepikapadukone) on

Tanmay Bhat, a stand-up comedian and co-founder of AIB, shared a heartfelt message on Instagram. Bhatt shared a fond memory of his first meeting with Khan, when they had approached him to shoot for a parody song. Bhatt also recalled how, despite the lack of facilities, Khan remained courteous, receptive, warm, and involved.


There’s nothing we can say about Irrfan the actor that won’t be said more eloquently by those who understand the craft better than us. So we’d like to take a moment to remember Irrfan the person, as we knew him. When Maqbool himself agrees to a work meeting that you never dreamed would happen, intimidation is understandable. More so when you’re a group of twenty-somethings with none of the credibility or swag his usual collaborators have. But from minute one, Irrfan was courteous, receptive, warm, and involved. He took to our Party Song with a gusto that made us wonder if we’d even written something that deserved the sort of dignity he was giving it. But. That’s just the sort of guy Irrfan was. He walked off the set of Jurassic World, where they were probably serving him flavoured cappuccinos on velvet cushions, onto the shoestring budget Party Song shoot. It was the middle of May and the temperature and humidity were soaring. The air conditioner wasn’t working in the club we shot in. We had no special vanity van to give him when we shot the pool scenes. We tensed for a star tantrum. But Irrfan just grinned, stretched out on the floor in the corner of the room, and took a nap. That’s just the sort of guy Irrfan was. When ill health forced him to drop out of a project we were supposed to do together, we understood his situation immediately, and yet, he was the one who had tears in his eyes because he thought he was letting down some kids who were starting out. Because that’s just the sort of guy Irrfan was. He was being treated in London in July 2018, and we happened to be there. Not only did he insist on coming to the show, but also on taking us all to dinner after, where he regaled us with stories in his trademark drawl while also making sure everyone ate until they couldn’t move. Because that’s just the sort of guy Irrfan was. “Yaar cricket khelte hai!” he chirped, and even had a friend in London book us some nets. Sadly, on the day, his health took a turn for the worse and he had to drop out. He still called and said “I’m not cancelling the booking, tum log toh jaa kar khelo yaar!” Because that’s just the sort of guy Irrfan was.

A post shared by Tanmay Bhat (@tanmaybhat) on

Lyricist Prasoon Joshi, now chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), praised the actor for battling the disease with a positive attitude till his last breath

Shilpa Shetty Kundra, who had worked with Khan in Life In A... Metro (2007), said the sudden demise of her dear co-star had benumbed her. 

Salman Khan and Aamir Khan also took to Twitter to offer their condolences.

Abhinav Deo, director of the Irrfan Khan-starrer Blackmail (2018), who had struck up a good friendship with the actor, said, "We have lost one of the greatest actors in our industry today. This loss is insurmountable. My condolences and wishes with his family. I wish god gives them the strength to face this difficult situation."

Khan had played the role of a husband who decides to blackmail his wife after discovering her infidelity in Deo's Blackmail. "We had a professional relationship at the start of shooting for my film," Deo recalled. "But as the shooting progressed and we started spending more time together, the professional relationship turned into a friendship.

"He was a gem of a personality. I got to learn a lot from him. He had a unique approach to life. Because of his serious roles, many people assumed he was a serious person who put a lot of time into rehearsals. But on the contrary he would prefer to act spontaneously. This is because he had immense faith in his craft. Be it serious, funny, he would perform any character with nonchalance. May he rest in peace."

Tanuja Chandra, who directed Khan in the romantic comedy Qarib Qarib Singlle (2017), felt that with his death Hindi cinema faces a huge loss. "I feel fortunate that he brought so much beauty and tenderness to the character in my film," the director said. "His ability to sparkle on screen and the fact that one never tires of watching him, that he will continue to bring joy to anyone who watches him enact whatever role there might be, this is something to cherish. A really huge loss for the world of Hindi cinema."

Naseeruddin Shah shared a quote Khan had written last year.

Comedian and actor Kapil Sharma also shared his condolences in a tweet.