Indian actors have in the past few years started making their way to mainstream Hollywood cinema. While the trend of Indian actors in Hollywood isn’t a new trend per say, it is peculiarly the work of one actor and his subtlety to stay grounded without speaking too much of it which makes him a special global icon of sorts.
Irrfan Khan, one such actor that has made history globally, but there are several achievements of this absolutely talented actor which many may not necessarily know of. He was first recognized in ‘Salaam Bombay’ directed by Mira Nair performing a cameo. Intense film critics, contemporaries and experts have only been able to pin point the intricate accomplishments this actor has achieved. His very first Hollywood movie, ‘Warrior” completed 15 years today clearly defining his earliest achievements and how he has never let us down! Some of his deeds in the film industry especially his work in the west is that haven’t been talked about much include couple of things you should know about:
1. He paved way for Indian actors in Hollywood and beyond!
Irrfan has been in the scenario for a considerable amount of time covering work from not just Hollywood but all around the world. He hasn’t ever been seen limiting his passion to just Bollywood. He has done theatre to TV serials ( Chanakya , Bharat Ek Khoj ) to series ( Darr ) to plays. He was part of ‘ Such A Long Journey ‘ in 1988 which is an Indo Canadian movie directed by Sturla Sunnarsson, which got 12 Genie nominations including Best Actor and Best director and was screened at Toronto International Film Festival back when Film festivals hadn’t even caught attention it has today. Later on, a London-based director, Asif Kapadia made him a lead in a historical film ‘The Warrior’ that went onto giving Irrfana new lease of life on screen and suddenly the western world took notice of this actor. Since then Irrfan hasn’t only opened doors for Indian actors drastically in the West but also broke away stereotypes and even managed to crack the code of world cinema. Irrfan not only works today in the west but also works for productions in Europe and East Asia.
2. Award winning directors love Irrfan!
He has been part of award winning casts and worked with the most renowned directors all over the world. Mira Nair, for Salaam Bombay, who got the Audience Award at Cannes , National Film Award for Best Feature Film, for the same. The director who shot the Slumdog Millionaire is an 8 time Academy Awards and 10 time nominee, Danny Boyle. Marc Webb, directed Amazing Spiderman who is just 5 films old, this movie making 4th on the list, was a hit among the teens and kids, which got him the Kids’ Choice Award. The overwhelming ‘’Life of Pi’ was directed by Ang Lee who is a writer and a producer. He is a Taiwanese born film director and producer who has been nominated at Cannes, won at Golden Globes, Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, Critics Choice Award, DGA nomination for Pi and won for his other two films. His film with Tom Hanks for the sequel to Dan Browns ‘ Inferno ‘ was directed by Ron Howard, who has won Golden Globes for Best Picture- Drama.
3. He did American TV before it became too mainstream!
The American premium cable and television network, owned by Time Warner , HBO is the oldest and longest operating premium service in the US, that was launched in 1965. Even when it was just International, and Bollywood hadn’t explored much of the Hollywood coast, Irrfan managed to bag a drama series called ‘ In Treatment’ on the renowned channel which released in 2008, where in season three he was seen playing along the character of ’Sunil’ who was a retired math professor from Bengal who was in grief about his wife’s death.
4. Has shared screen space and constantly does so with Hollywood royalty!
Apart from being associated with just well known directors, he has shared the screen with Oscar and Golden Globes and Academy Award and several other award winning actors and actresses. They have been recognised all over the world. Tom Hanks who himself is a four time Golden Globe winner and been nominated for even more, has been seen along side with Irrfan. With Natalie Portman, under the direction of Mira Nair, was seen in New York I Love You. Natalie has been awarded Golden Globe, BAFTA, academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild awards and nominated for a ton more. These are just a few to name and there are many more like Angelina Jolie etc.
All in all, Irrfan Khan has worked with the most diverse set of cast and directors, only expanding and experimenting in the more, as he grew older in the field. His curiosity has never stopped him, and he has always been intact with his ethics. May he always keep coming forth with various heterogenous collaborations setting Bollywood culture raving worldwide.