Kabir Khan (director)

Kabir Khan is an Indian film director, screenwriter and cinematographer. He started his career working in documentary films, and then made his feature film directorial debut in 2006 with Kabul Express which was followed by New York (2009), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), Tubelight and Phantom (2015).[2]

Kabir Khan
Kabir Khan
BornKabir Khan
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
(Eariler in Andhra Pradesh, India)[1]
Occupationdocumentary cinematographer, Film director, screenwriter, film producer
Alma materKirori Mal College of Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia
SpouseMini Mathur

Personal life

Kabir was born to a North Indian Muslim father and a South Indian Hindu mother. His father Rasheeduddin Khan, who was a Pathan, hailing from Kaimganj in Farrukhabad district, Uttar Pradesh, and was a nephew of Dr. Zakir Hussain (President of India – 1967 to 1969). Rasheeduddin was a communist politician favoured by Indira Gandhi and was made a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha at a relatively young age, in the early 1970s. He was also a professor of political science, and in the early 1970s, he became one of the founding professors of Jawaharlal Nehru University.[3] Kabir's mother, Leela, was a Hindu whose mother tongue was Telugu. Kabir has an elder sister, Anusheh, who is the wife of film-maker Vijay Krishna Acharya, director of films like Tashan and Dhoom 3. Anusheh is often erroneously referred to be "Anusha" but her correct name is "Anusheh," a name of Persian origin, and Anusheh has said in interviews that she wants her name to always be spelled correctly as per the Persian style.[4]

Kabir is married to former TV host Mini Mathur.[5] They have two children Vivaan and Sairah.[6]

Kabir studied at Kirori Mal College of Delhi University, as well as Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi.[7]

Film career

Khan started his career at age 25 as a cinematographer for the Discovery Channel documentary film Beyond the Himalayas (1996) directed by Gautam Ghosh. He then made his own directorial debut with the documentary The Forgotten Army (1999) based on Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army. He then directed two more documentaries before shifting his focus to mainstream cinema.[8]

Kabir debuted through Kabul Express which gained him Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director at the 54th National Film Awards. He then went on to direct two more films with Yash Raj Films, i.e. New York (film) and Ek Tha Tiger. It was the later which gave him the taste of commercial success but the previous ones also did fairly well at the box office.

After his 3-film deal ended with YRF, Kabir set up his production house through which he produced Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

His most-successful film is Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which had been the third highest-grossing Indian film globally. The film garnered the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment at the 63rd National Film Awards.[9][10]

After the success of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, he directed Katrina Kaif and Saif Ali Khan in Phantom.

Khan again collaborated with Salman Khan with Tubelight, official remake of Little Boy based on the Indo-Chinese war that debuted Chinese actress Zhu Zhu released on Eid 2017. The film met with negative reviews criticising the film for its incoherent script.

Khan has signed Ranveer Singh to play Kapil Dev in his next sports biography '83 based on India's victory in 1983 Cricket World Cup, that will go on floors in early 2019.

Kabir has recently wrapped up the shoot of an 8 episode long Amazon Prime Original based on Subhas Chandra Bose's Forgotten Army. He is directing and co-producing the series with Amazon.

His next film is The Zookeeper, a Chinese-Indian film production.[11][12] It is a travel-related drama film which is being shot in the Chinese city of Chengdu and the surrounding region.[13][14] The film has an estimated budget of $25 million (₹162 crore), and it will star a leading Indian actor and a leading Chinese actress.[15]


Year Film Credited as Genre Notes
Director Producer Writer
1996Beyond the HimalayasDocumentaryCinematographer
1999The Forgotten ArmyYDocumentaryFilm South Asia:
Winner – Jury Award
2006Kabul ExpressYNYDrama54th National Film Awards:
WinnerIndira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director
(shared with Yash Raj Films for Aditya Chopra as producer)
2009New YorkYNNThriller2007 Asian First Film Festival:
Winner – Swarovski Trophy for Best Director
33rd Cairo International Film Festival:
NominationGolden Pyramid Award for Best Film
2012Ek Tha TigerYNYRomantic thriller3rd BIG Star Entertainment Awards:
Winner – BIG Star Most Entertaining FILM OF THE YEAR
(shared with Yash Raj Films for Aditya Chopra as producer)
Nomination – BIG Star Most Entertaining Director
2015Bajrangi BhaijaanYNYComedy-drama63rd National Film Awards:
WinnerBest Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
(shared with Salman Khan and Rockline Venkatesh)
Stardust Awards:
Winner – Best Film Of the Year
Big Star Entertainment Awards:
Winner – Most Entertaining Director
Sony Guild Awards:
Winner – Best Film
Winner – Best Screenplay
(shared with K. V. Vijayendra Prasad, Kabir Khan and Parveez Shaikh)
Star Screen Awards:
Winner – Best Film in Popular Choice
Winner – Best Director
Zee Cine Awards :
Winner – Best Film (Viewers' Choice)
Filmfare Awards:
NominationFilmfare Award for Best Film
NominationFilmfare Award for Best Director
2015PhantomYNYAction thriller
2017TubelightYYYPeriod war drama
2020 The Zookeeper Y

Frequent actor collaborations

Actors Kabul Express
New York
Ek Tha Tiger
Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Salman Khan
Katrina Kaif
John Abraham
Roshan Seth
Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Om Puri
Ranveer Singh


  1. "Kabir Khan: Salman has no complexity and no complex". Times of India. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  2. "'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' director Kabir Khan: Hanuman doesn't belong to only one community".
  3. Gupta, Priya. "Kabir Khan: Salman has no complexity and no complex". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  4. Kabir Khan personal information
  5. "How did Kabir Khan marry Mini Mathur?". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  6. Post New York Kabir Khan busy babysitting Hindustan Times, 7 July 2009
  7. Kabir Khan filmography
  8. "Kabul Express is based on my experiences". Rediff.com. 3 July 2006. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  9. "63rd National Film Awards" (PDF) (Press release). Directorate of Film Festivals. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  10. "Salman and Kareena come together for Bajrangi Bhaijaan". The Indian Express. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  11. "Eros International Announces Indian Subsidiary Results". Business Wire. 23 May 2018.
  12. Hungama, Bollywood (20 May 2019). "Contrary to reports in Chinese media, Kabir Khan's Indo-China film The Zookeeper won't release in January 2020 :Latest Bollywood News - Bollywood Hungama". Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  13. "After Tubelight, Kabir Khan to shoot his next film Zookeeper in China". The Indian Express. 23 May 2017.
  14. Wang, Yue (5 February 2018). "Chinese Moviegoers Are Developing Diversified Tastes, Which Doesn't Bode Well For Hollywood". Forbes.
  15. "Eros International's Trinity Pictures Announces Two Indo-Chinese Co-Productions with Leading Chinese Film Companies, Peacock Mountain Culture & Media Ltd and Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd". Business Wire. 15 July 2016.
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