Whether it is a character in an ad, television, or movie, Irrfan Khan’s charismatic presence is hard to miss. He is an actor who emotes not only with his eyes, but also with his body language and voice. From being a villain to a man of innocence, he has donned many characters in his acting career until now. Picking out just 10 of his most powerful roles out of all is a tough task that we have taken upon ourselves to convince you of his acting prowess.
So, find out if you have seen him in any of the movies mentioned below.
#1. In and as Paan Singh Tomar
Before the release of the movie Paan Singh Tomar, there were very few people aware of this athlete named Paan Singh, but soon everyone knew who he was. Irrfan portrayed the role of seven times national champion of steeplechase, who served the Indian army, and ended up being a bandit with a lot of conviction. He even won the National Award for being the Best Actor.
#2. In and as Maqbool
In Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool, an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Irrfan Khan plays the role of a criminal torn between his love for a woman named Nimmi, and loyalty for his Godfather Abbaji. He dons the character of a conscience stricken man with utmost perfection, conveying his emotions even through his body language.
Did you know he met his wife of 10 years in National School of Drama, Delhi? Read: 9 Bollywood Khans Who Married Outside Their Religion Against All Odds
#3. Saajan Fernandes in The Lunchbox
In Ritesh Batra’s offbeat movie, The Lunchbox, Irrfan transformed himself into an obedient government employee, Saajan Fernandes, who is lonely and about to retire from his duties as an accountant. The unique bond that he forms with the other lead actor, Nimrat Kaur, through handwritten notes, is visible with the way his expression changes every time he opens his lunchbox. Once more brilliance personified!
#4. Billu in Billu Barber
Directed by Priyadarshan, Irrfan Khan slips in the shoes of Billu, a sweet and simple barber living in a small picturesque village with utmost ease. Even though the age-old story in the film, and Shah Rukh’s cameo did not do that well at the box office, it was difficult to not like the simple man that Irrfan played with such sincerity.
#5. Lacfadia in The Warrior
It was Asif Kapadia’s movie, The Warrior, that helped Irrfan set his foot in the Hollywood industry. It is the story of Lacfadia, an efficient executioner working for a feudal Indian lord who decides to leave his old life behind for good. More than the dialogues it is his eyes that convey his journey from being a killer to a peaceful man.
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#6. Piscine Patel or Pi in Life of Pi
Although Irrfan Khan did not get much of screen time in Ang Lee’s epic Life Of Pi, he managed to deliver his best with whatever little was given to him. If it were not for his ambiguous narration, the film would not have had the impact that it did on the audience.
#7. Ranvijay Singh in Haasil
As Ranvijay Singh in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Haasil, Irrfan Khan was completely despicable; so much so that he even won the award for Filmfare Best Villain in 2004. He portrays the role of an ambitious college gang leader aspiring to be a politician. He is fearless and outright scary in playing the dirty game as well as the act.
Irrfan has played characters defying stereotypes, and these are his female counterparts, who wowed us as well: 11 Unconventional Bollywood Beauties also Broke The Mould Of Their Times!
#8. Roohdar in Haider
Irrfan played the character of Roohdar, a Pakistani militant, in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Haider. His character was electrifying from the moment he made an entry until his exit on-screen. His was a pivotal role in the film, even though the main focus was on Shahid Kapoor.
#9. Ashoke Ganguly in The Namesake
An immigrant professor in America, a sensitive man, a loving husband and a doting father, Ashoke Ganguly was a name, the audience could not forget for a long time after watching the movie adaptation of The Namesake, directed by Mira Nair. And, did you know that he even taped the voice of Amar Lahiri, Jhumpa Lahiri’s father who worked as a librarian at the University of Rhode Island, to get the perfect Bengali accent that the director wanted?
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#10. Umber Singh in Qissa
Perhaps very few actors can portray a complicated character with so much of perfection. Again in Anup Singh’s Qissa, Irrfan essays the role of a Sikh man Umber Singh, who is in desperate want of a son, and raises his fourth daughter as one. Only he could have played this twisted character with such simplicity and honesty, that despite hating Umber Singh for his actions, you cannot help but understand that he was a man with flaws.
#11. Rana Chaudhary in Piku
How can we forget Rana Chaudhary? If there was anyone who could withstand the constantly bickering father-daughter duo in Shoojit Sircar’s Piku, it had to be Rana. With an understated romance, superb comic timing, and the adorable chemistry with Deepika Padukone, Irrfan once again proved that he is a performer in the true sense.
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So, did your favourite movie of Irrfan Khan make it to this list? If not, let us know which other movie you would like to add it to the list, because we know that with such a fine actor there has to be more favourites.