Irrfan Khan

Irrfan Yaseen Khan, also credited as simply Irfan, is an Indian film actor, known for his work predominantly in Hindi cinema, as well as his works in British films and Hollywood.[2][3] In a film career spanning almost thirty years and featuring in more than fifty domestic films, Khan has received numerous awards, including a National Film Award and Filmfare Awards in four categories. Film critics, contemporaries and other experts consider him to be one of the finest actors in Indian cinema for his versatile and natural acting.[4][5] In 2011, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour for his contribution to the field of arts.[6]

Irrfan Khan
Khan in 2015
Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan[1]

(1966-01-07) 7 January 1966
Other namesIrrfan
Alma materNational School of Drama
OccupationFilm actor, producer
Years active1988 to present
Sutapa Devendra Sikdar (m. 1995)
AwardsFull list
HonoursPadma Shri (2011)

Domestically, he made his screen debut with the Academy Award-nominated film Salaam Bombay! (1988). Followed by a series of roles in films that failed to propel his career forward, he received critical acclaim for playing negative roles in the drama films Haasil (2003) and Maqbool (2004), for the former he won the Filmfare Award for Best Villain. The successful drama Life in a... Metro (2007) marked a turning point in Khan's career, earning him praise and several awards including the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. He rose to prominence with his portrayal of Paan Singh Tomar in the acclaimed biographical sports drama Paan Singh Tomar (2011), which garnered him the National Film Award for Best Actor and a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.[7] His performance in the BAFTA Award-nominated romance The Lunchbox (2013) earned him universal acclaim by the critics and audiences. Khan went on to feature in the commercially and critically successful films Haider (2014), Gunday (2014), Piku (2015) and Talvar (2015). His highest-grossing Hindi release came with the critically acclaimed comedy-drama Hindi Medium (2017), which became a sleeper hit in India and China, which ranks among highest-grossing Indian films of all time and earned him praise for his performance, winning several awards including the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.

Globally, Khan has worked in several international projects such as The Warrior (2001), The Namesake (2006), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), the Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008), New York, I Love You (2009), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016). As of 2017, his films have grossed $3.643 billion at the worldwide box office.[8] In 2018, Khan was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor.[9][10]

Early life

Khan was born in Jaipur, Rajasthan, to a Muslim Pashtun family. Khan's mother, Begum Khan, was from the Tonk Hakim family, and his father, the late Jagirdar Khan, was from the Khajuriya village near the Tonk district, and ran a tire business.[11][12]Irrfan and his best friend Satish Sharma were good at cricket, later Irrfan been selected for the CK Nayudu Tournament (for emerging players under 23 years, a stepping stone to First Class cricket). He did not turn up for the tournament owing to lack of funds.[13]

Khan was studying for his MA degree when he earned a scholarship to study at National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi in 1984.


Khan moved to Mumbai, where he acted in numerous television serials, including Chanakya, Bharat Ek Khoj, Sara Jahan Hamara, Banegi Apni Baat, Chandrakanta, Shrikant (Doordarshan), AnooGoonj on Doordarshan, Star Bestsellers (Star Plus), and Sparsh. Earlier, he had acted in a teleplay on Doordarshan named Laal Ghaas Par Neele Ghode where he played Lenin. It was based on a translation by Uday Prakash of a Russian play by Mikhail Shatrov. He was the main villain in a series called Darr (which aired on Star Plus), where he played the role of a psycho serial killer, opposite Kay Kay Menon. He also played the role of famous revolutionary Urdu poet and Marxist political activist of India Makhdoom Mohiuddin in Kahkashan, produced by Ali Sardar Jafri. He acted in some of the episodes of Star Bestsellers (aired on Star-Plus). In one of the episodes ("Ek Sham Ki Mulakat"), his role was of a parchoon shopkeeper who has a misconception that his landlord's wife is trying to seduce him and it turns out that his own wife (Tisca Chopra) is cheating on him. In the other one, he played the role of an office accountant who, after being insulted by his female boss, took revenge. He also appeared in a serial called Bhanvar (aired on SET India) for two episodes. In one episode, he performed the role of a thug who somehow lands in court. Theatre and television kept him afloat until Mira Nair offered him a cameo in Salaam Bombay! (1988) though his role was edited out in the final film.

In the 1990s, he appeared in the critically acclaimed films Ek Doctor Ki Maut and Such a Long Journey (1998) and various other films which went unnoticed. In 1998, Khan played role of "Rantnakar" the Bandit, aka "Valmiki" who was BANDIT and turned into the well known Monk / Poet who wrote "The Ramayana" in Sanjay Khan's serial "Jay Hanuman". After many unsuccessful films, things changed when London-based director Asif Kapadia gave him the lead in The Warrior, a historical film completed in 11 weeks on location in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. In 2001 The Warrior opened in international film festivals, making Khan a known face.[14]

In 2003–04 he acted in Ashvin Kumar's short film, Road to Ladakh. After the film received rave reviews at international festivals,[15] the film was being made into a full-length feature starring Khan.[16] That same year he played the title role in the critically acclaimed Maqbool, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

His first Bollywood lead role came in 2005 with film Rog. His performance was praised by critics; one wrote, "Irfaan's eyes speak louder than his words and every time he is in frame, be it talking to his buddy Manish or arguing with Suhel, he shows his capability as an actor".[17] Thereafter he appeared in several films either playing the leading role or a supporting role as a villain. In 2004 he won the Filmfare Best Villain Award for his role in film Haasil. Critics praised his performance in Haasil, saying that "as the ambitious, brash, fearless goon who is mind-blowing. He is outright scary and makes you sit up, wondering what he'll do next".[18] He also played an antagonist in the Telugu film Sainikudu.

In 2007, he appeared in the box office hits Metro, for which he received a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award, and The Namesake. His chemistry with Konkana Sen in Metro was one of the highlights of the multi-star movie. They were closely followed by his appearance in the international films A Mighty Heart and The Darjeeling Limited.

Even after his success in Bollywood, he has continued his television career. He anchored a show Mano Ya Na Mano (airing on Star One). He hosted another programme named Kyaa Kahein which was similar to Mano Ya Na Mano.

In 2008, he was featured as a narrator in an Arts Alliance production, id – Identity of the Soul. The performance toured worldwide, with tens of thousands turning out to see the event as it toured the West Bank. He also plays the police inspector in the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, for which he and the cast of the movie won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. About him, Danny 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. Boyle compares him to an athlete who can execute the same move perfectly over and over. 'It's beautiful to watch.'"[19]

In 2009, he featured in the film Acid Factory. Khan has stated that he wants to do more action films in the future.[20] He also appeared as an FBI agent in New York and as a Gujarati diamond merchant in New York, I Love You. His film, Paan Singh Tomar, about real-life athlete turned dacoit, received extremely favourable reviews by critics.

In 2010, he worked on the third season of the HBO series In Treatment, enacting the part of Sunil, who is finding it difficult to come to terms with his wife's death and loneliness after moving to New York.

Khan played Dr. Rajit Ratha in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012.[21] Khan played the adult version of Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel in Ang Lee's film adaptation of Life of Pi, which became a critical and commercial success worldwide. In 2013, he starred in The Lunchbox, which won the Grand Rail d'Or at Cannes Film Festival and received a BAFTA nomination, and became his highest-grossing Hindi film up until then.[22]

In 2014, Khan appeared in Gunday, which was a moderate box office success. He also made guest appearances in the films The Xpose and Haider, playing an important role in the latter. In 2015, he played the lead role in the film Piku alongside Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan. Khan co-starred in the 2015 film Jurassic World. In the same year, he also appeared in the acclaimed thriller Talvar in which his performance was praised. He appeared in Jazbaa in October 2015 alongside Aishwarya Rai which was very well received by critics. He was next seen alongside Tom Hanks in the 2016 adaptation of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon thriller Inferno.[23]

In the year 2017, Khan appeared in two films, Hindi Medium and Qarib Qarib Singlle. The former was commercially and critically successful, while the latter was an average grosser. Khan's portrayal as Raj Batra in Hindi Medium earned him several accolades, one of which was the Filmfare Award for Best Actor of that year. Hindi Medium became a sleeper hit in India and China, becoming his highest-grossing Hindi release, surpassing The Lunchbox.[22] As of 2017, his films have grossed US$3.643 billion at the worldwide box office.[8]

In 2018, Khan appeared in Karwan, with Dulquer Salmaan, Mithila Palkar and Kriti Kharbanda. The film released on 1 June 2018. He also appeared in Blackmail opposite Kirti Kulhari in the same year. He also committed to work in Hindi Medium 2. It will be directed by Homi Adajania who directed Cocktail and Finding Fanny.[24]

Other milestones

In September 2015, he was appointed as the brand ambassador for "Resurgent Rajasthan", a campaign by the state government of Rajasthan.[25] He lent his voice to the light and sound show at the war memorial for the Indian army at Vidhan Sabha Road, Jaipur. This show portrays the valour and courage of the Rajasthani soldiers and their historic and modern triumphs in battle.[26]

Personal life

On 23 February 1995, Khan married writer and fellow NSD graduate Sutapa Sikdar. They have two sons, Babil and Ayan.[1]

Sikdar said about him, "He was always focused. I remember when he would come home, he would head straight for the bedroom, sit on the floor, and read books. The rest of us would be hanging around gossiping." Even now, as he reads through at least one new Hollywood script a week, he believes in doing his homework, staying up till 3 in the morning, taking notes, trying to understand ways to play his character. Sikdar recalls how he would demand as many as 11 rewrites from her when he directed episodes of Banegi Apni Baat. "Once he dragged me to a police station in Mumbai to understand procedure," she recalls.[27] In 2012, he changed the spelling of his name from "Irfan" to "Irrfan" and has said he likes the sound of the extra "r" in his name.[28]

In February 2018, Khan was diagnosed with "undisclosed disease",[29][30][31][32] and it was speculated by many media outlets that he has "brain cancer".[33] After much speculation, the actor took to his Twitter account and announced that he would "share his story" in "a week - ten days" and asked the media and fans not to "speculate" anything.[34][35] On 16 March 2018, Khan announced through a Twitter post that he is suffering from a neuroendocrine tumor.[36] He travelled to London for treatment.[37][38]


Awards and nominations

See also


  1. "Irrfan Khan". Archived from the original on 8 December 2013.
  2. "Irfan drops 'Khan'". Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  3. Jha, Subhash K (7 March 2012). "Irrfan drops his surname Khan". Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  4. Anderson, Ariston (10 December 2014). "'Jurassic World' Actor Irfan Khan on Upcoming Film: "It Will Be Like a Scary Adventure"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  5. Iqbal, Nosheen (25 July 2013). "Irrfan Khan: 'I object to the term Bollywood'". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  6. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  7. "60th National Film Awards Announced" (PDF) (Press release). Press Information Bureau (PIB), India. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  8. "Irrfan Khan Movie Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  9. CNN, Lisa Respers France,. "'Life of Pi' star Irrfan Khan reveals he has a rare tumor". CNN. Retrieved 16 March 2018.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  10. "Life of Pi actor has rare tumour". BBC News. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  11. "Cutting across roles". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 February 2009.
  12. O'Connor, Ashling (27 March 2007). "From Bollywood to Boston". London: Times Online. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  13. Abish Mathew (10 November 2017), Son Of Abish feat. Vir Das & Irrfan Khan, retrieved 29 June 2018
  14. "I now see myself in new light: Irfan Khan". IndiaGlitz. 23 April 2004. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  15. Kalla, Avinash (March 2003). "On the High Road To Ladakh". Archived from the original on 12 April 2003.
  16. Pais, Arthur J (7 November 2003). "Irfan Khan goes to Hollywood". Rediff. New York. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  17. "Movie Review of Rog – Irfaan bangs into commercial cinema too – Bollywood Articles". Archived from the original on 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  18. "'Haasil' is not for everybody". 16 May 2003. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  19. "Keeping It Real". Time. 15 February 2010.
  20. "I want to do more and more of action films". Archived from the original on 12 October 2009.
  21. Bhushan, Nyay (28 June 2012). "'The Amazing Spider-Man' Gets Widest-Ever India Release for A Hollywood Film". The Hollywood Reporter.
  22. "Hindi Medium records higher box office opening than Dangal, Bajrangi Bhaijaan in China; Irrfan's highest grosser worldwide". Firstpost. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  23. Singh, Prashant (15 February 2015). "Irrfan Khan to work with Tom Hanks in Inferno". Hindustan Times. New Delhi. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  24. "Irrfan Khan and Dulquer Salmaan starrer Karwan to release on June 1". Bollywood Hungama. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  25. "Local boy Irfan in Jaipur as a face of Resurgent Rajasthan". The Times of India. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  26. "Irrfan Khan is the face of a special campaign for Rajasthan". 28 October 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  27. "Irrfan Khan turns India's best known international actor : Profile – India Today". 22 April 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  28. "Paan Singh Tomar has become a symbol: Irrfan". IBN Live. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  29. Mumford, Gwilym (6 March 2018). "Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan reveals he has 'rare disease'". the Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  30. "Bollywood's Irrfan Khan has 'rare disease'". BBC News. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  31. "Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan reveals he's suffering from 'rare disease'". Metro. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  32. "Irrfan Khan reveals he has a rare disease in a sombre note - Celebs who made headlines | The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  33. Nathan, Leona (7 March 2018). "Irrfan Khan's Friend Rubbishes Rumours About The Actor Suffering From Brain Cancer". Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  34. "Irrfan posts cryptic tweet about 'rare disease'". The Indian Express. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  35. "Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan suffering from 'rare disease' - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  36. "Irrfan Khan reveals that he is suffering from neuroendocrine tumour - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  37. "Irrfan Khan has neuroendocrine tumour, is travelling abroad for treatment". 16 March 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  38. "Irrfan Khan, battling cancer in London, updates Twitter profile image"
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