Irrfan Khan: Movie world pays tribute to Bollywood star's 'pure magic'

Media caption,
Danny Boyle credits Irrfan Khan with propelling Slumdog Millionaire to Oscar glory

Director Danny Boyle, actress Angelina Jolie and a host of Bollywood stars have paid tribute to Indian actor Irrfan Khan, who has died aged 53.

Priyanka Chopra, who starred with him in 7 Khoon Maaf in 2011, said his "charisma" made for "pure magic" on set and on screen.

Khan was also known for roles in Jurassic World, Life of Pi and the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

Boyle told the BBC: "Irrfan was a wonderful actor and a pivotal figure in the making of Slumdog Millionaire."

He added: "It wasn't a huge role, and in fact on paper it was even less rewarding-looking.

"But Irrfan saw the possibility of guiding our audience - with his dignity, his grace, his charm, his intelligence and his calmness - through this crossword puzzle of an idea of a film."

Angelina Jolie said she had been privileged to work with Khan on the set of 2007 drama A Mighty Heart.

"He stood out for his generosity as an artist, which made it a pleasure to work in any scene with him," she told the BBC. "I remember the intensity of his commitment, and equally his smile. I send my condolences and my sympathy to his family, his friends, and all admirers of his work, in India and around the world."

Media caption,
Irrfan Khan: India's 'most versatile' actor dies at 53

Rogue One and Venom actor Riz Ahmed described Khan as "one of the greatest actors of our time".

"I never met him but he was an inspiration and a hero to me and millions of others," he wrote.

Chopra added on Twitter: "Your talent forged the way for so many in so many avenues. You inspired so many of us."

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Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow described Khan as "a thoughtful man who found beauty in the world around him, even in pain".

Having been diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine cancer in 2018, Khan underwent months of treatment in the UK.

Khan's fellow Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor shared a photo of them together on Instagram, declaring: "You have no idea what your kindness meant to me at a time I was at my least confident."

'An incredible talent'

Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who worked with him on the film Piku, tweeted: "An incredible talent... a gracious colleague... a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema... left us too soon... creating a huge vacuum."

Actor Raveena Tandon tweeted that Khan was a "fantastic co-star, an actor par excellence, and a beautiful human being".

Actor Konkona Sensharma said Khan paved the way for many actors.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid tribute, describing his death as "a loss to the world of cinema and theatre".

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Khan's breakthrough came in the 2001 film The Warrior, the low-budget directorial debut of Asif Kapadia.

The Samurai-esque production went on to win the Bafta Award for best British film, propelling both actor and director into the spotlight.

Kapadia honoured the late star by simply posting the words "Love you Irrfan bhai [brother]" alongside a picture of him in action.

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Khan was buried at the Versova Kabristan cemetery in Mumbai soon after the news of his death was announced on Wednesday. His family, close relatives and friends were present.

Four days earlier, Khan's 95-year-old mother had died in Jaipur - but he could not attend her funeral because of India's nationwide lockdown, aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

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