‘Irrfan Khan was a wonderful actor’: Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle pays tribute
Irrfan Khan’s Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle has paid tribute to the actor.
Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, on Wednesday reminisced about casting the late Irrfan Khan in the 2008 movie that won eight Oscar awards, calling him ‘a wonderful actor and a pivotal figure’ in the film’s production.
Irrfan’s passing away in Mumbai figured prominently in the mainstream British news media. He was in London for medical treatment for nearly a year after being diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in March 2018. Several of his films had episodes shot in the UK.
Boyle said: “Irrfan was a wonderful actor and a pivotal figure in the making of Slumdog Millionaire. It wasn’t a huge role, 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”.
“He also reassured one of our most significant partners on the film, Peter Rice of Fox Searchlight, who as a friend before he was involved in the film told me cast Irrfan Khan in it, whether there was a role for him or not, he said: ‘Just get that guy’.”
“And then he said, he bought the film, he ended up buying the film and releasing it to put it on its trajectory towards the Academy Awards, and he was no doubt partly enticed by the fact that indeed we had got Irrfan Khan. So thank you Peter Rice, thank you Irrfan Khan for a match made in heaven”, he said in a tribute to BBC by video-link from his home.
As The Guardian, BBC and other news outlets ran obituaries, several individuals in London and elsewhere in the UK took to social media to express grief over his death, recalling their interaction and fond memories of him during his visits here.
London-based director Asif Kapadia, who gave Khan one of his first lead roles in The Warrior (2001), tweeted with a 2000 image of the actor: “Love you Irrfan bhai”.
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