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‘Sahebzaade Irrfan Ali Khan’s (actual name) untimely exit has shocked entire Bolly- fraternity including Amitabh Bachchan

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Chaitanya Padukone

Acclaimed iconic Bollywood star-actor Sahebzaade Irrfan Ali Khan ( that’s his real name) is no more having succumbed to a terminal illness ( neuroendocrine tumour and now acute colon infection) at an untimely age of just 53 years . The entire Bollywood industry has plunged into a pall of gloom and almost every other celeb-actor or actress From Amitabh to Shabana Azmi and from Anupam Kher to movie ‘Lunch-Box’ co-star Nimrit Kaur is tweeting or sharing condolences and fond memories and personal adulation Legendary superstar Amitabh Bachchan who was Irrfan’s co-star in the landmark movie ‘Piku’ tweeted, “ Just getting news of the passing away of Irrfan Khan .. this is a most disturbing and sad news .. An incredible talent .. a gracious colleague .. a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema .. left us too soon .. creating a huge vacuum .. Prayers and duas,’ . As a senior film & TV journalist I have known internationally acclaimed award-winning super-actor Irrfan-bhai (he was an expert cricketer as well) right from the time he was acting in popular TV shows like ‘Chanakya’ and later ‘Banegi
Apni Baat’ (1993) . I still recall that he always had a witty, wacko.

sense of humour and would share funny incidents with his punch-line with a straight-blank-face.. Once at a late evening party during the ‘ late 90s , he was telling me and a few other guests that his actual name is ‘Sahebzaade Irrfan’, and that if he he used that full name, people would have possibly got a wrong impression that he was arrogant, he would say with his tongue-in-cheek humour, Always calm, modest and unassuming, ‘Padma Shri’ and NSD-alumnus Irrfan-bhai never threw star- tantrums . With all the coveted Filmfare and National Award honours, he never let successaffect him. In the past, at a private preview of a movie ( which I attended) convened by his buddy-star-actor Makarand Deshpande at a regular movie theatre, Irrfan coolly came and sat that too ‘incognito’( until the movie screening was over) amidst the general audience and not insisting on VIP treatment. Noted senior showbiz director Uday Shankar Pani, who with his local crew, was assisting illustrious director Mira Nair, recalls that after shooting for ‘Salaam Bombay’ (1988 ), the 21 year old chilled-out Irrfan was quite content with getting a token remuneration-amount for his brief cameo performance. “So impressed was Mira-ma’am with Irrfan’s dedication and calibre that she kept him in mind and many years later, she cast him in major lead roles in milestone movies like ‘The Namesake’(2006)”, recalls Uday. .