Thespian of Bollywood cinema, actor Irrfan khan died at the age of 53 today at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on April 29, 2020. He fought a hard and long battle with a rare form of cancer having been diagnosed in 2018 suffering from a neuroendocrine tumor.
Irrfan is survived by his wife, Sutapa Sikdar and two sons, Babil Khan and Ayan Khan.
Born Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan, Irrfan had to put his thriving Bollywood career on hold when in 2018, he was diagnosed with the neuroendocrine tumour. He and his family went off to London for treatment and spent almost a whole year there before returning to India.
Sutapa and Irrfan – the warriors
In March 2018, right after Irrfan’s diagnosis, Sutapa writing a long and detailed Facebook post called Irrfan a warrior. She wrote:
“My best friend and my partner is a ‘warrior’ he is fighting every obstacle with tremendous grace and beauty. I apologize for not answering calls msgs,but I want all of you to know I am truly humbled indebted for ever for the wishes prayers and concern from all over the world. I am grateful to god and my partner for making me a warrior too. I am at present focused in the strategies of the battlefield which I have to conquer…
Despite being cognizant of the gravity of Irrfan’s sickness, Sutapa hoped of victory and optimistically wrote:
“It wasn’t and isn’t and is not going to be easy but the hope ignited by the magnitude of family ,friends and fans of irrfan has made me only optimistic and almost sure of the victory.
Sadly, the true victory was never there and whatever victory they were blessed with or accorded by the Almighty was very short lived. Only on February 23 this year, they had celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary.
Like an ever optimist and a huge source of optimism as if she could change the fate, she had asked fans and family friends to “ turn our curiosity from what it is to what it should be. Lets change the leaf. Lets not waste our precious energies to only know what it is and just prey to make it what it should be. My humble request to all of you is to concentrate on the song of life, to dance of life to victory.
“My family will soon join in this dance of life. Thank you all from bottom of our heart . Sutapa irrfan babil ayaan (sic),” Sutapa had written in a long Facebook post.
The warrior Irrfan owed his strength to Sutapa. He wanted to live for her.
“What to say about Sutapa? She is there 24/7. She has evolved in care-giving and if I get to live, I want to live for her. She is the reason for me to keep at it still,” Irrfan had said about Sutapa, the love of his life, in an interview to a leading Indian tabloid.
They were love birds as students of National School of Drama
Irrfan and Sutapa met as classmates in National School Of Drama (NSD). Irrfan was a very promising student who Mira Nair had noticed for “his focus, his intensity, his very remarkable look – his hooded eyes.” Irrfan and Sutapa fell in love and got married on February 23, 1995, completing 25 years of marriage this year.
The decorated actor’s wife Sutapa is also a film dialogue writer par excellence. She wrote for very successful films like Khamoshi, Shabd and Kahaani. She also produced Madaari (2016) and Qarib Qarib Singlle (2017), both starring Irrfan in the lead.
After a year of treatment, Irrfan managed to complete Angrezi Medium which was only released last month. That movie now stands as his last on-screen performance.
Along with Sutapa and his two sons who will feel the vacuum for decades, the whole of art and film fraternity all over the world, Bollywood and Hollywood included and his millions of fans are now grappling with his so sudden and such an untimely demise. RIP legend.
In addition to his contribution to Hindi cinema, Irrfan Khan will be remembered for many of hugely successful movies including Hollywood blockbusters – Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, Jurassic World, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Namesake and Inferno.