Irrfan Khan

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Irrfan Khan
Irrfan Khan 2012.jpg
Khan at the press conference of director Ang Lee's Life of Pi (2012) at New Delhi
Born Sahabzade Irrfan Ali Khan[1]
(1967-01-07) 7 January 1967 (age 48)[2]
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Other names Irfan
Ethnicity Pathan
Occupation Film actor
Years active 1988–present
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Sutapa (1995–present)

Sahabzade Irrfan Ali Khan (born 7 January 1967), credited as Irrfan Khan or simply Irrfan, is an Indian film actor known for his works predominantly in Bollywood. He is also known for his works in British Indian films, Hollywood ventures, and a Telugu film.[3][4]

In India, Khan gained the reputation of a skilled actor from his roles in Bollywood movies such as The Warrior, Maqbool, Haasil, Charas: A Joint Effort, Paan Singh Tomar, Knock Out, Gunday, The Lunchbox, and Rog. He also hosted the TV show Mano Ya Na Mano and appeared in popular Vodafone commercials. In 2012 he appeared in the title role in Paan Singh Tomar, a biopic about an athlete. Both the movie and Khan's performance received critical acclaim. As of 2013, he had appeared in more than 30 films in Bollywood.

Khan's English-language mainstream work includes character roles in movies like The Namesake, New York, I Love You, A Mighty Heart, The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog Millionaire, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Life of Pi, as well as in the HBO series In Treatment.

Khan has won three Filmfare Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Independent Spirit Award nomination. He is also the recipient of 2011 Padma Shri award, the fourth highest civilian award in India. He has garnered the National Film Award for Best Actor in the 60th National Film Awards 2012, for his performance in Paan Singh Tomar.[5]

Early life[edit]

Khan was born in Jaipur, to a Muslim family. Khan's mother, Begum, was from the Tonk Hakim family, and his father, the late Jagirdar, was from the Khajuriya village near the Tonk district and ran a tyre business.[6][7][8] 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 (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. 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.[9]

In 2003–04 he acted in Ashvin Kumar's short film, "Road to Ladakh". After the film received rave reviews[10] at international festivals, the film is now being made into a full-length feature starring Khan.[11] 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 Munish or arguing with Suhel, he shows his capability as an actor".[12] 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".[13]

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 becoming a successful actor in Bollywood, he has not severed his ties with television. 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."[14]

In 2009, he featured in the film Acid Factory. Khan has stated that he wants to do more action films in the future.[15] He also appeared as an FBI agent in New York and as a Gujarati diamond merchant in New York, I Love You. His latest film, Paan Singh Tomar, about real-life Rajput runner Paan Singh Tomar, has received extremely favourable reviews by critics.

He recently 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.[16] Khan played the adult version of Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel in the film adaptation of Life of Pi.

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. On 28 February 2014, Khan was cast in the upcoming 2015 film Jurassic World. In 2016, he will appear alongside Tom Hanks in the adaptation of Dan Brown's latest Robert Langdon thriller Inferno.[17]

Personal life[edit]

On 23 February 1995, Khan married writer Sutapa Sikdar, who is also an NSD graduate. They have two children named Babil and Aryan.[1]

Sutapa 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 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.[18] Recently, he has changed his name to Irrfan. He also said he likes the sound of the extra "r" in his name.[19]



Civilian honors[edit]

National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards

Other awards[edit]



Year Film Role Notes
1988 Salaam Bombay! Letter writer
1989 Kamla Ki Maut Ajit
Jazeere Alfred
1990 Drishti Rahul
1991 Ek Doctor Ki Maut Amulya
1991 Pita (The Father) Dr.Sen [23]
1993 Karamati Coat Jaggu
1994 The Cloud Door Irfan
1998 Bada Din Police Inspector
1999 The Goal The Coach
2000 Ghaath Mamu / Romesh Bhagwat Dogra
2001 The Warrior Lafcadia – Warrior British-Indian Film
Kasoor Public Prosecutor
2002 Pratha Priest Ninni Pandey
Kali Salwaar Shankar
Gunaah Police Inspector Digvijay Pandey
Haathi ka Anda
2003 Haasil Ranvijay Singh Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role
Footpath Sheik
Maqbool Maqbool
The Bypass Cop
2004 Shadows of Time Yani Mishra Bengali/German film
Aan: Men at Work Yusuf Pathan
Road to Ladakh Terrorist Short film
Charas: A Joint Operation Ranbhir Singh Rathore
2005 Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets Pipi
Rog Inspector Uday Rathore
Chehraa Chandranath Diwan
7½ Phere Manoj
2006 Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota Salim Rajabali
Mr 100 %- The real player Vishal
The Killer Vikram/Roopchand Swaroopchand Solanki
Deadline: Sirf 24 Ghante Krish Vaidya
Sainikudu Pappu Yadav Telugu film
2007 A Mighty Heart Mir Zubair Mahmood, East Karachi Deputy Inspector General Hollywood Film
Life in a... Metro Monty Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Namesake Ashoke Ganguli Hollywood Film
The Darjeeling Limited The Father
Apna Asmaan Ravi Kumar
Aaja Nachle Farooque, Najma's husband
Partition Avtar Canada film
2008 Tulsi Suraj
Sunday Kumar
Krazzy 4 Dr. Mukherjee
Mumbai Meri Jaan Thomas
Slumdog Millionaire Police Inspector British film
Chamku Vishal Kapoor
Dil Kabaddi Samit
2009 Acid Factory Kaizar
Billu Billu/Vilas Pardesi
New York Roshan (FBI Official)
New York, I Love You Mansuhkhbai Hollywood Film
2010 Right Yaaa Wrong Vinay Patnaik
Hisss Vikram Gupta
Knock Out Bacchoo/ Tony Khosla
2011 Yeh Saali Zindagi Arun
7 Khoon Maaf Wasiullah Khan a.k.a. Musafir
Thank You Vikram
2012 Paan Singh Tomar Paan Singh Tomar National Film Award for Best Actor
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
The Amazing Spider-Man Dr. Rajit Ratha Hollywood Film
Life of Pi Adult Piscine Molitor Patel ("Pi") Hollywood Film
2013 Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns Indrajeet Singh a.k.a. Raja Bhaiyya
D-Day Wali Khan
The Lunchbox Saajan Fernandez
2014 Gunday A.C.P. Satyajeet Sarkar
The Xpose Alec D'Costa Cameo appearance
Haider Roohdaar
2015 Qissa Umber Singh
Piku Rana Chaudhary Post-production[24]
Jurassic World Simon Masrani Post-production; to be released on 12 June 2015
2016 Inferno Announced


Year Show Role Notes
1987 Srikant
1988 Bharat Ek Khoj
1992 Chanakya "Senapati" Bhadrashal
1994 Chandrakanta "Badrinath/Somnath"
The Great Maratha Najib-ud-daula and Gulam Kadir Khan
1995 Banegi Apni Baat
1997 Just Mohabbat "Mr. Singh" a.k.a. "Psycho Singh" a.k.a. "Psycho Uncle" He plays a teacher.[25]
Jai Hanuman Maharishi Valmiki
Bombay Blue Rameez
1999 Star Bestsellers Ek Shaam Ke Mulaqaat
2004 Kyaa Kahein Host
2006 Mano Ya Na Mano Host
2009 Mtv Hero Honda Roadies 7 Himself
2010 In Treatment Sunil


  1. ^ a b Irrfan Khan's Profile
  2. ^ "Irrfan turns 47". Bollywood Hungama. 13 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Irrfan drops 'Khan'". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  4. ^ Jha, Subhash K (7 March 2012). "Irrfan drops his surname Khan". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  5. ^ "60th National Film Awards Announced" (PDF) (Press release). Press Information Bureau (PIB), India. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Cutting across roles". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 14 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Irrfan Khan". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  8. ^ O'Connor, Ashling (27 March 2007). "From Bollywood to Boston". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  9. ^ "I now see myself in new light: Irfan Khan". IndiaGlitz. 23 April 2004. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  10. ^ Road of Ladakh Short Film
  11. ^ Irrfan Khan goes to Hollywood,Rediff movies
  12. ^ "Movie Review of Rog – Irfaan bangs into commercial cinema too – Bollywood Articles". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  13. ^ "'Haasil' is not for everybody". 16 May 2003. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  14. ^ "Keeping It Real". Time. 15 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "I want to do more and more of action films". 
  16. ^ Bhushan, Nyay (28 June 2012). "'The Amazing Spider-Man' Gets Widest-Ever India Release for A Hollywood Film". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Irrfan Khan turns India's best known international actor : Profile – India Today". 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  19. ^ "Paan Singh Tomar has become a symbol: Irrfan". IBN Live. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  20. ^ "Kajol, Tabu, Irrfan Khan get Padma Shri". IBN Live. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Big B, Deepika and Irrfan starrer Piku slated for a April 2015 release". First Post. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "Just Mohabbat: Episode 4, from SET India official Youtube channel". 

External links[edit]