Irrfan Khan is an Indian actor who predominantly works in Bollywood. Considered to be one of the finest actors of Indian cinema, Khan has also appeared in British and Hollywood films. Appreciated for his versatility and natural acting ability, Khan was honored with India’s fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri, in 2011.
Born in a Muslim family on 7th January 1967, Khan spent his childhood in Rajasthan. His father, late Jagirdar, ran a tire business and his mother, Sayeeda Begum, hailed from the Tonk Hakim family. While Khan was pursuing an MA degree in 1984, he earned a scholarship to study at the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi.
Since his early days as an actor Irrfan was highly motivated and dedicated. He would spend hours and hours reading books and trying to understand different ways to play his character. Irrfan Khan is married to Sutapa Sikdar, who is a writer and was his fellow graduate at NSD. The couple got married on 23rd February 1995 and the duo have two sons, Babil and Ayan.
After studying at the NSD, Khan moved to Mumbai and began his acting career with TV serials. He also acted in a teleplay, Laal Ghaas Par Neele Ghode, which was adapted from a Russian play written by Mikhail Shatrov. Before, he began is acting career in movies, Irrfan acted in a number of TV serials including Bharat Ek Khoj, Banegi Apni Baat, Chandrakanta, Chanakya, Sara Jahan Humara, Shrikant, Anoo Goonj, Star Bestsellers, and Bhanvar. He also starred in the thriller and horror, TV serial, Darr that aired on Star Plus, opposite Kay Kay Menon.
During the early days of his acting career, Irrfan was occupied with theater and television. It was Mira Nair, who offered him a cameo in her movie Salaam Bombay! (1988); a role which he accepted. However, his role was edited in the final cut of the movie. In the 1990s, Irrfan began to appear in movies and took up offbeat projects such as Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990), and Such a Long Journey (1998). While these movies received critical acclaim, Irrfan Khan’s screen presence went unnoticed.
It was in the year 2001, that a London-based director, Asif Kapadia, offered Irrfan a lead role in the movie, The Warrior. The movie was screened at various international film festivals and Irrfan Khan achieved worldwide recognition post the release of the movie. Later, in 2003, Irrfan appeared in a short film, Road To Ladakh, which was received with positive reviews at many international festivals. In the same year, Irrfan starred in Maqbool, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The movie was critically acclaimed and Irrfan’s performance was praised by the audience. In 2004, he won the Filmfare Best Villain Award for his role in the movie Haasil (2003).
A couple of years later, Irrfan’s first Bollywood lead role came with the movie, Rog (2005). Although movie failed at the box office, Irrfan’s performance was highly praised by the critics. After his break as a lead actor, Irrfan went on to appear in many movies either as lead or supporting actor or a villain. He further impressed the audience with another powerful performance in the movie, The Namesake (2006) where he played the role of a Bengali guy to perfection opposite Tabu. Soon, he also won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in the movie, romantic-drama, Life in a …Metro (2007). While he achieved success in Bollywood, Irrfan continued to work on small screen; he anchored the show Mana Ya Na Mano.
In 2008, he also was part of ‘id – identity of the soul,’ a performance art produced by Martin Rod. He featured as the narrator and toured worldwide. In the same year, Irrfan was also a part of Danny Boyle’s Oscar Award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. On Irrfan’s performance in the movie, Boyle said, he has an instinctive way of finding the “moral center” of any character, so that in Slumdog, we believe the policeman might actually conclude that Jamal is innocent.”
Continuing to deliver hits Irrfan appeared in hit movies such as Acid Factory (2009), and New York (2009). In the movie New York, he appeared as an FBI agent. However, one of Irrfan’s best roles in his career came with the biopic on the real-life athlete turned dacoit, Pan Singh Tomar. The movie was received rave reviews from the critics as well.
Irrfan is one of the few Bollywood actors, who has managed to work in internationally recognized movies as efficiently as he works in the Indian film industry. After being part of international movies such as A Mighty Heart (2007), and The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Irrfan portrayed the role of Dr. Rajit Ratha in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). He has also worked in the HBO television series, In Treatment.
In 2013, Irrfan starred in another critically acclaimed movie, The Lunchbox, (2013). The movie went on to win several international awards and Irrfan’s role as Saajan Fernandes, a widower, was applauded by the critics and audience alike.
In 2014, Irrfan was cast in the movie Gunday (2014), opposite Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. The movie where, Irrfan plays the role of a stern and shrewd Cop, did not get a good response at the box office and neither was praised by critics. In the same year, the actor did a cameo in the Himesh Reshammiya starrer, The Xpose (2014). The movie bombed at the box office and it got a lot of flak by the critics. His next movie, Haider though was a massive hit both commercially and critically. In 2015, he starred alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in the much acclaimed movie Piku. The movie, directed by Shoojit Sircar was a big hit at the box office and went to win several awards. His next big hit was the Jurassic World from the famed Jurassic Park franchise, the Jurassic World, which also featured Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in the leading roles. Irrfan was also a part of the much-awaited installment of the Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World (2015).
Further, Irrfan delivered a power packed performance in Meghna Gulzar’s Talwar (2015). The movie was inspired by the Arushi Talwar murder case of 2008 and Irrfan portrays the character of Ashwin Kumar, based on CBI investigator Arun Kumar. The film garnered positive reviews from the critics and Irrfan’s role was highly appreciated as well.
In 2016, Irrfan Khan starred in Nishikant Kamat’s Bollywood film Madaari and Ron Howard’s Hollywood movie Inferno. Both movies received a lukewarm response at the box-office, failing to have the desired effect. His 2017 releases include films like Hindi Medium, Yaara, Takadum, and Lion of the Sea.
Action, Comedy, Thriller