We are sorry to report the death of Irrfan Khan, star of Slumdog Millionaire, The Life of Pi, and The Lunchbox, which we showed in our 2014/15 season.
Before his rise to Hollywood fame, Khan appeared in numerous Indian films and soap operas, so unsatisfying to him that he considered giving up acting altogether. His big screen debut was supposed to be in Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! but his character ended up on the cutting room floor. He had better luck with The Warrior, directed by Asif Kapadia, which won Best British Film at the Baftas. He played the title role, that of a warlord who tries to give up the sword. Thereafter he made a number of Hollywood and British films before being cast by Danny Boyle in Slumdog Millionaire. He plays the man who beats Dev Patel’s character Jamil, believing him to be a cheat. In 2012 he played the adult Pi Patel in And Lee’s The Life of Pi and then in 2013 he was the lead in Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox.
News of his death, on Wednesday April 29, was greeted with national mourning in India. He was 53.