The Bollywood star loved by Hollywood

Irrfan Khan was one of the few Indian stars to transition seamlessly from Bollywood to Hollywood while breaking the barriers of stereotypes for brown people in the West with his unconventional acting skills.

From pivotal roles in big-budget tentpoles such as Jurassic World, Inferno and The Amazing Spider-Man to critically acclaimed and successful crossover dramas such as The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi, Irrfan was India's biggest export to Hollywood.

And he did all this without making any fuss about invading the West. He instead let his work do the talking.

He was the actor who matched the Oscar-winning Tom Hanks' on-screen thunder.

He was the star who turned down offers to work with Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Nolan and Ridley Scott. He was the actor who retained his identity as an Indian without being stereotyped - cast as a police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire, a doctor in The Amazing Spider-Man, a powerful businessman in Jurassic World and the head of an enigmatic international organisation in Inferno.

While promoting Inferno, Hanks said he wanted to be cool like Irrfan: "Here's what I hate about Irrfan Khan... I always think I'm the coolest guy in the room, and everybody's hanging on to every word I say and everybody's a little intimidated to be in my presence. And then Irrfan Khan walks into the room. And he's the coolest guy in the room."

Nationality was never a barrier for Irffan to succeed in Hollywood. He said in an interview: "When I entered Hollywood, most of my colleagues and industry people used to say that 'Hollywood mein kya hai', 'Taxi driver aur waiter ke role hi hote hain'. But fortunately things have changed.

"For me in Inferno, nationality doesn't matter, nor in Jurassic World, where I played the role of Simon Masrani - he could have been a Sindhi or an Italian. So that is how things are changing. Your nationality doesn't really become a limitation."

Indo-Asian News Service


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