Alternate Best Supporting 2014: Irrfan Khan in Haider
Irrfan Khan did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Roohdaar in Haider.
This version of Hamlet takes many creative choices of the material, some of them quite inspired, but perhaps none more inspired than in the character of the ghost. The ghost typically being Hamlet's father's apparition that details his death at the hands of his brother to his son. This version removes the supernatural by instead giving this news to an additional character. This as a man essentially appearing to set off the second act of the film, this man Roohdaar played by the gone far too soon, Irrfan Khan. Khan's initial appearance that can only be described as cool, and quite striking. This as he appears indeed, though obviously a man, but as an apparition in the way he glides through crowd with a manner of seemingly divine purpose. This only amplified by his costuming, in his his thick sunglasses and white robe, that seems to suggest a man on alternate plain. Although this man is indeed real but Khan's performance is one built upon the idea of haunting the proceedings in his few minutes of screentime. There is something so remarkable of that presence of his, as is typically the case from the few films I've seen him in, that he uses to offer the sense of a man on a mission. The mission though technically just being to inform Haider (Hamlet)'s family of his story, which involved being the same prison camp as Haider's father. Khan's performance carries this inherent weight within it, what is so notable about it is how with so much ease that Khan is able to evoke this. He speaks with a clarity that actually makes all the more haunting. This in his eyes reflect his experience yet his manner with the words is with this calm of a man with real purpose in his story. His story, which involves revealing that Haider's uncle had Haider's father killed in an execution that almost killed Roohdaar as well, is presented by Khan with careful emotion. This as it is with a sense of directing Haider to the truth, but with a glint, just a glint, of warmth within it. This with a sense quite but very powerful conviction in his delivery of the message as Roohdaar as someone who less is self-pitying or even revenge seeking, rather wants to ensure the truth is known. Khan doesn't have a lot of screentime however he is absolutely captivating in that time. His work delivering the needed switch within the film by offering the essential impact of this very different kind of "ghost".