Irrfan Khan is not your regular hero but he is one of the rare breed of actors who can kick some serious butt even if he is pitted against your typical hero in his very own backyard. But he hasn’t reached such a stature overnight. It’s taken years of TV serials, numerous passable films and a lot of hard work. He got his first break in films with Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay but unfortunately his scene was deleted before the release. He went on to play the role of Senapati in the famous Chankya on TV and was also seen in the award winning film Ek Doctor Ki Maut in 1991. Still, it wasn’t until 2003 that he was really noticed in India even though he did The Warrior which won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film.
In 2003 came Haasil, a gem of a film based in Allahabad about student politics and love which got Irrfan his first Filmfare award for the negative role as Ranvijay Singh. This was what his career needed and he hasn’t looked back since then. Over the past 6 years he has done films across various genres and played so many memorable characters. His performance in films like Maqbool, Life…In a Metro and Mumbai Meri Jaan speaks volumes about his range and talent. It was because of such performances that he got films like The Namesake and the Angelina Jolie starrer A Mighty Heart which got him rave reviews in Hollywood. Namesake in particular was a special performance by the man who just expresses so much by his body language that he doesn’t even need dialogues. He makes you live his character along with him which is something that can only be said for the likes of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro etc. And If people were wondering what more can this man offer, he has given us another unforgettable performance as Billu. He captured the helplessness and simplicity of Billu perfectly and did it so naturally that it was hard to believe he had ever been anybody else but Billu. Hats off to this fine actor who, in spite of not having the personality of a star continues to inspire and amaze. He is a complete superstar in my book and I hope I get to see more such performances.