Actor Irrfan Khan is no longer with us. His passing away to neuroendocrine cancer has left a void in the film world that can never be filled, not today, not in the future — never. He was singularly unique – trailblazer, screen-scorcher, performer par excellence.
The actor has moved on into a better space, leaving behind a legacy of work that will always remind aficionados of good cinema of the sheer giftedness of his talent.
Here, at Binged.com, we’ve compiled a list of Irrfan Khan’s best performances on screen, in movies that have been elevated to a different level by his mere presence. Read on –
The Lunchbox (2013), Streaming on Netflix:
A poignant story of a widower (Irrfan) who is about to retire from his job and whose life changes irretrievably due to a mistake in lunchbox deliveries. The mistake results in the blossoming of friendship and then love between him and an unhappy housewife (Nimrat Kaur), the sender of the mis-delivered lunchboxes. Irrfan moulded himself beautifully to the character of the widower, pulling off a difficult role with charisma and class.
Maqbool (2004), streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar:
Vishal Bhardwaj’s take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth had Irrfan Khan playing Maqbool, who murders his mentor, the Don Abbaji (Pankaj Kapur), leading to his ultimate downfall. Irrfan Khan put in a seminal performance in the role of a murderer, haunted by guilt and fear.
Paan Singh Tomar (2012), streaming on Netflix:
Based on the true story of a seven-time National Games winner, including Gold, and an Army Jawan, who turns into a dacoit due to oppressive social mores, and his struggle to get his land back. Irrfan Khan breathed life into the role of Paan Singh. No actor could’ve done better justice to the role than Irrfan. He won the Best Actor National Award for his performance.
Talvar (2015) streaming on Netflix, Disney Plus Hotstar:
The true account of the botched police investigation of the 2008 Noida double murder case of Aarushi Talwar. Irrfan Khan played Ashwin Kumar the special investigation officer in charge of the case, putting in a memorable performance in the role of a police officer, helpless in the face of red-tapism, bureaucracy and an inept law system. His performance is the one thing that stays with you for a long long time.
Piku (2015), streaming on SonyLIV:
Irrfan Khan held his own against Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, in the role of a travel agency owner who puts up with the eccentric father – daughter pair. It was one of the first instances when viewers got to see Irrfan in a role oozing wry humour and dry wit. He was simply electrifying in the movie.
Hindi Medium 2017, streaming on Amazon Prime Video:
A movie that touches upon the blatant discrimination against Hindi-speaking humans in the posh, English-speaking circles of Delhi high society. Irrfan played the role of a father desperate to put his kid in one of the elite Delhi schools, going as far as to prove himself impoverished to get his kid in through the RTE quota for the poor. It was a sparkling, electrifying performance from the maestro.
Life in a….Metro (2007),streaming on Netflix:
Though Irrfan Khan was one in an ensemble cast in a movie that portrayed an anthology of love stories set in the cold, harsh metro, he stood out with his honest portrayal of a character that comes across as somewhat negative in first instance, but then grows on you courtesy his straightforward earnestness.
Karwaan (2018), streaming on Amazon Prime Video:
The movie was about a coffin that gets mixed up between the characters played by Dulquer Salman and Mithila Palkar – the dead bodies of the former’s father and the latter’s nani get mixed up in transit. But it is Irrfan Khan’s role as Shaukat, Dulquer’s friend who accompanies him on the road trip to get the right body, that lends heft, humour and solemnity to the narrative. A truly sparkling and unique characterization.
Madaari (2016), streaming on ZEE5:
Irrfan Khan plays a father hell-bent on revenge for his son’s loss, in this hard-hitting socio-political drama on corruption and the plight of the common man in the face of the corruption. Irrfan’s performance is raw and powerful, moving you to tears, anger and every other emotion that comes with the loss of a loved one. A performance that’ll go down in history as one of his best ever.
Haasil (2003), Streaming on YouTube:
Irrfan Khan’s turn as Ranvijay Singh, the shrewd and wily antagonist of Haasil, is a masterclass in how to pull off sheer menacing cunning on screen. The movie is essential watching, only for Irrfan’s outstanding brilliance.
Life of Pi, (2012), YouTube:
Irrfan Khan plays the memorable role of a writer who recounts the time he was stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean with a ferocious, adult tiger. The story and its treatment were psychedelic, but Irrfan Khan stood out as the soft-spoken narrator of the outrageous tale of his temporary truce and unlikely friendship with the tiger.
Another memorable performance by Irrfan Khan is as the earnest Ashoke, who tries to fit into life as an immigrant in New York, in The Namesake (2007), the filmed version of Jhumpa Lahiri’s acclaimed novel of the same name. But sadly, the movie is not streaming on any OTT platform as of now.
Relive the pure and potent talent of the maestro Irrfan Khan with these movies, where he’s out shined his co-actors, the script, the direction and everything else.
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