Watch: Irrfan Khan in His Lesser-Known Performances

Irrfan Khan passed away at the age of 53 on Wednesday, 29 April.

2 min read

(Irrfan Khan passed away at the age of 53 on Wednesday, 29 April. This story has been republished from The Quint's archives to mark the actor's death.)

From a character-acting veteran to a lead to reckon with in Bollywood, the ‘unconventional’ looking Irrfan Khan has come a long way. A lot can be written about his inimitable dry humour. The most mundane line acquires an emotional resonance in his utterance. His facial expressions, like the weather, can swing from one extreme to the other, delivering a deadpan seriousness in one role and a megawatt smile, exuding warmth in another.

Be it a creep, a lover, a baddie - he effortlessly slips into the skin of myriad kinds of characters. The reticent Ashoke Ganguli of The Namesake, the guilt-ridden Miya of Maqbool, the stubborn Umber Singh of Qissa or the amiable Monty of Life in a Metro - none of them would have been as memorable, if not for Irrfan breathing life into them. He can bring an enigmatic subtlety to the most obnoxious characters

Embodying an enviable range, Irrfan Khan effortlessly lends depth to the most marginal characters. One of the most coveted actors now, for the longest time, he lingered on the periphery of the spotlight as an ‘underrated’ actor. In one of his interviews to an international magazine, he once said, “I came into this industry to tell stories and do cinema and I was stuck in television. Which, on the Zee and Star Plus networks in South Asia, meant soap operas "chasing middle-class housewives and the [poor and illiterate]. Once, they didn't even pay me because they thought my acting was so bad."

Asif Kapadia’s The Warrior was a game-changer for him. Irrfan went on to work with giants of international cinema like Ang Lee and Danny Boyle. But do you remember him from Chandrakanta or Banegi Apni Baat?

Watch a compilation of some of his lesser known performances in films like, Kali Salwar, Bypass (short film) and Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (where his cameo was cut from the film!)

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