Thursday, January 29, 2009

He Looks Familiar: Irrfan Khan

The other night, my wife and I are watching The Namesake (2006) with my mother. The movie is a beautiful story the chronicles the life of an Indian family that comes over to the United States and stars Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Kal Penn ("House").

My mom comments after the movie how the character played by Irrfan Khan looks familiar to her.

I joke, "maybe he was in Slumdog Millionaire," knowing she had recently seen the movie and also knowing that like most Americans (myself included) probably has limited exposure to Indian actors and actresses.

By the time my wife and I came home, I had an e-mail from my mom...yes, Irrfan Khan was in Slumdog Millionaire. It was somewhat comical because when I said it was just joking.

In Slumdog Millionaire Khan played the well executed role of the Police Inspector who is charged with questioning Jamal (Dev Patel.)
And it was from there, that I realized I too recognized Irrfan Khan and could place him in other English language films namely The Darjeeling Limited and the film A Mighty Heart.

Khan has an extensive Hindi language filmography that developed in the 1990s forward. Only rarely does the filmography dip into the English language. Titles of roles, like that in Slumdog and A Mighty Heart, seem to frequently carry titles like Inspector or Captain.

Now that I have identified Irrfan Khan as an actor (and one of the cast members who has just landed a SAG award as a member of the award winning ensemble), I'm interested to see how Khan's filmography develops and if we'll see him in any prominent roles in future English language films.


Michael Parsons said...

He is consistantly good in everything he does. His work in The Namesake (and Tabu's) was fantastic. I hope the success of Slumdog leads to more Indian actors getting prominent roles in 'hollywood' productions.

crackers and cheese said...

I thought he looked familiar in Slumdog, and this was why! Thanks for writing about this. The Namesake is a terrific film that I definitely recommend.