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The India Observer
By Shirin Abbas, Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, TIO: The Indian film fraternity has been left reeling after the back to back deaths of two of its stellar members, actors Irrfan (Khan) and Rishi Kapoor, third-generation actor from the Kapoor Khandaan. While Kapoor was 67 and fighting a two-year battle with leukemia, Irrfan had been diagnosed with endocrine cancer in 2018, had gone for treatment abroad and returned, to act in his last film English Medium which was released on March 14 before succumbing to his ailment on Wednesday at a Mumbai hospital, leaving behind his wife and two young sons.
For 52-year-old Irrfan’s family, it has been a double blow as his mother passed away in Jaipur on Saturday. Due to the lockdown her beloved son could only be a virtual attendee at her last rites. Irrfan took a turn for the worse on Tuesday night and was admitted to hospital and breathed his last on Wednesday morning. Irrfan had carved a name for himself just not in the Indian film industry but was recognized as a familiar face in Hollywood as well, having starred in films like Salaam Mumbai, The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire, Jurassic World, The Life of Pi, The Warrior, The Amazing Spider-Man and Inferno. He has also acted in the Netflix series The Tokyo Trial.
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The deaths of the two actors have drawn condolence messages from the President and Prime Minister of India as also the entire Bollywood fraternity.
In an emotional Farewell note released today, Irfan’s wife Sutapa Sikdar went on to say. “I have not lost, I have gained in every way”
Irrfan Khan, one of India’s most admired actors, died at the age of 53 in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital on Wednesday morning. He had been battling cancer and his health worsened after a colon infection. Irrfan Khan was buried at the Versova kabrastan in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon. Filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj, Tigmanshu Dhulia, and Abhinay Deo, who directed Mr. Khan in Maqbool, Paan Singh Tomar, and Blackmail respectively, were at his funeral.
A day after Irrfan Khan’s death, his wife and writer Sutapa Sikdar shared an emotional farewell post for her husband on Facebook. Ms. Sikdar posted a throwback picture of herself along with The Namesake actor wrote: quote, “I have not lost, I have gained in every which way”. Just a day before the actor’s death, Irrfan Khan’s spokesperson released a statement, quote, “Yes, it is true that Irrfan Khan is admitted to ICU at Kokilaben in Mumbai because of a colon infection”. We would keep everyone updated. He is under doctor’s observation. His strength and courage have helped him battle and fight so far and we are sure with his tremendous willpower and prayers of his well-wishers, he will recover soon.
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Irrfan Khan, star of international films such as The Lunchbox and Life Of Pi, returned to Mumbai some months ago after surgery and treatment in London. Irrfan Khan is survived by his wife and two sons, Babil and Ayan.
In his three decades in the industry, Irrfan Khan’s starred in several critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful films. Maqbool, Haasil, Paan Singh Tomar, Haider, Pinku, Talvar, and the Academy Award-nominated Salaam Bombay! are just a few of them. His last project was Angrezi Medium, co-starring Kareena Kapoor and Radhika Madan.
Two years ago, when news first broke about Irrfan detected with cancer, his fans had got a rude jolt. At that time, on March 5, 2018, the star shared a tweet, in which he revealed that he had been diagnosed with a rare disease. He had tweeted: Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life-shaking you up. In the last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease. I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will. My family and friends are with me and we are working it out the best way possible. In trying times, quote. “please don’t speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week – ten days when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me”.
Later, Borrowing a quote from Margaret Mitchell, Irrfan Khan, on March 18, 2018, revealed that he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. He added, quote; ” Learning that I have been diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Tumour as of now has admittedly been difficult, but the love and strength of those around me and that I found within me has brought me to a place of hope. The journey of this is taking me out of the country, and I request everyone to continue sending their wishes…. To those who waited for my words, I hope to be back with more stories to tell”. The Life Of Pi actor summed up his then state of mind by quoting a few lines by wartime poet Rainer Maria Rilke.” Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final," read an excerpt from Irrfan Khan’s post.
The actor left for surgery and treatment in London in 2018. After undergoing treatment there, Irrfan Khan returned to Mumbai briefly in April 2019. Meanwhile, in 2018, his film Karwaan, co-starring Dulquer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar released in theatres. The Maqbool actor wasn’t a part of the film’s promotions as he was medically unfit. After returning to India, Irrfan Khan wrote on Twitter: " Maybe, somewhere in the pursuit of winning, we forget how much it means to be loved. In our vulnerability, we are reminded. As I leave my footprints onto these steps of my life, I want to pause to be grateful for receiving your immense love and support, it soothed me in my process of healing. So I travel back to you, thanking you from the bottom of my heart." Ahead of his last film Angrezi Medium’s release in March this year, Irrfan Khan shared audiovisual notes. Sharing the not on Twitter, he wrote, " As we embark on the journey to release Angrezi Medium, here’s a small note for you." The video had stills from the Homi Adajania-directed film along with a voice-over from Irrfan Khan. He said, " Hello, brothers and sisters. I am with you and not
with you. Today I am there with you as well as not there. My film Angrezi Medium is extremely special to me. I genuinely wanted to promote this film with as much love as we have made it with. But there are some unwanted guests sitting inside my body and I am having a conversation with them. Whatever their status is, I will keep you posted. There is a saying when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
The love affair that started with Bollywood for Chintu, as Rishi Kapoor was popularly called, at age 3 ended on Thursday with his death. He was admitted on Wednesday evening to a private hospital in Mumbai and lost his battle to Leukemia on Thursday leaving behind his beloved wife Neetu, son Ranbir and daughter Riddhimma, who, being in Delhi, could not reach in time for her father’s funeral. Rishi Kapoor’s last rites were held at the Chandanwadi crematorium in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon, attended by family and a handful of close friends. Mr. Kapoor, 67, died in the HM Reliance Foundation Hospital on Thursday. He battled cancer for the last two years. Several family members
were pictured at the hospital on Thursday afternoon and later at the crematorium – among them were Mr. Kapoor’s wife Neetu Kapoor, son Ranbir, brother Randhir Kapoor, niece Kareena, her husband Saif Ali Khan, nephews Armaan and Aadar Jain, and actress Alia Bhatt who is reportedly dating Ranbir. Abhishek Bachchan, son of Rishi Kapoor’s longtime friend and frequent co-star Amitabh Bachchan, industrialist Anil Ambani, and filmmaker Ayan Mukerji, who is Ranbir.s closest friend, also braved the lockdown to visit the hospital and attend the funeral.
Rishi Kapoor’s daughter Riddhima, who lives in New Delhi, has been given permission to drive to Mumbai – the 1,400 km journey will take her about 18 hours. The funeral proceeded without her.
In a statement released after Rishi Kapoor’s death, the family said that he remained his jovial and entertaining self to the end and that he would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears. The Kapoors also appealed to the actor’s fans to respect lockdown rules.
Rishi Kapoor, star of films such as Amar Akbar Anthony, Chandni, and Karz, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago after which he spent 11 months in New York being treated. He flew home to Mumbai last September. This year in February, he was taken to hospital twice.
Mr. Kapoor’s last films were 2019 releases The Body and Jhootha Kahin Ka. He is survived by Riddhima, wife Neetu Kapoor and son Ranbir, as well as several members of the vast Kapoor family.
Rishi Kapoor’s daughter Riddhima, who lives in New Delhi, has been given permission to drive to Mumbai but was unable to reach in time to attend her father’s funeral. Son Ranbir’s fiancé Alia Bhatt was present both at the hospital and at the cremation ground and seen crying bitterly as she tried to
lend support to Neetu Kapoor.
The back to back deaths of two of India’s most loved actors has left people depressed and shocked. There have been outpourings of grief on Twitter and Facebook and an air of despondency on all social media platforms with people admitting to feeling a sense of personal loss at their deaths.
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