On Irrfan Khan’s 50th Birthday Subhash K Jha Pick
Very few Indian actors have had the privilege of playing such a wide variety of characters . Irrfan Khan’s versatility and his ability to assume new personae with every film are by now legendary. Just last year he was in sterling form in three films Qissa, Piku and Tevar. Here’s looking at some of the most memorable roles ofIrrfan since his debut with a cameo in Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay in 1988.
1. Warrior(2000): Many Irrfan-o-philes including me still consider this to be Irrfan’s finest . PlayingLafcadia in Asif(Amy) Kapadia’s film about a warrior in Rajasthan who tries to give up a life of violence,Irrfan was enigmatic lethal and potent. He had no reference points for the character . Irrfan created his own inner world for Lafcadia. Fascinating to see the actor at work in his early film.
2. Haasil(2003)—Playing a student leader Ranvijay Singh in a rowdy violent college in Uttar PradeshIrrfan just wouldn’t allow us to take our eyes off the character whenever he was on screen. The association with director Tigmanshu Dhulia bega
3. Maqbool(2003): Playing Vishal Bhardwaj’s version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth Irrfan brought to the screen a kind of unnerving emotional violence. Pitched against the mighty Pankaj Kapoor and the incandescent Tabu, Irrfan not only held his own in the erotic triangle, he made us realize the greatness of his craft without throwing his histrionics in our face.
4. The Namesake(2007): 2004-2006 was a sterile season for Irrfan. No dearth of varied characters but terrible films…until he bounced back with brilliant bravura performance in Mira Nair’s richlytapestried look at at NRI couple in The Namesake. Irrfan quite simply and fluently brought aliveJhumpa Lahiri’s Ashoke Ga
5. Mumbai Meri Jaan(2008)
6. 7 Khoon Maaf(2011): Irrfan’s most romantic role to date. Playing the Kashmiri poet Wasi-ullahKh
7. Paan Singh Tomar(2011)
8. The lunchbox(2013): Playing the lonely widower Saajan Fernandes, Irrf
9. Qissa(2013): A Sikh , and sick, Punjabi Sardarji Umber Singh whose obsession for a male heir makes him believe his last-born daughter to be a son. Irrfan made his character’s psychological disorder symptomatic of the troubled times during the Partition when nations were divided and humanity lost its power to tell right from wrong.
10. Piku(2015): Irrfan’s Rana Choudhary was a character trapped between an over-demanding father and a harassed daughter. How ably Irrfan stood his ground! Balancing out the excessive bile of theBachchan and Padukone chara