7 January: Remembering Irrfan Khan on Birth Anniversary

7 January: Remembering Irrfan Khan on Birth Anniversary

Irrfan Khan (7 January 1967 – 29 April 2020), was an Indian actor who worked in Indian cinema as well as British and American films.

Life and Career

Irrfan Khan was born Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan on 7 January 1967, in Tonk, Rajasthan, India. He grew up in Tonk and Jaipur.

He became interested in acting under the influence of his maternal uncle, who was a theatre artist in Jodhpur. Khan met noted theatre artists in Jaipur and performed on stage there.

After completing his master’s degree in Jaipur, he studied acting at the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi.

When Irrfan Khan arrived in Bombay, he took up a job as an air conditioner repairman, and one of the houses he visited to repair an air conditioner was the house of superstar Rajesh Khanna.

Khan made his film debut in Salaam Bombay! (1988), A minor role was offered to him. He played Lenin in a Doordarshan teleplay titled Laal Ghaas Par Neele Ghode, adapted from a Russian play by Mikhail Shatrov. In the serial Darr, he played the main antagonist, a psycho killer. In Kahkashan, produced by Ali Sardar Jafri, he also played Makhdoom Mohiuddin, the famous Indian revolutionary, poet, and Marxist activist. On Star-Plus, he acted in some episodes of Star Bestsellers. He also appeared in two episodes of Bhanvar on SET India. Through the 1990s, he acted in numerous TV shows, including Chanakya, Bharat Ek Khoj, Sara Jahan Hamara, Banegi Apni Baat, Chandrakanta, Shrikant, Anoo Goonj on Doordarshan, Star Bestsellers (Star Plus), Sparsh and The Great Maratha on DD National.

Also, he played a double role in Chandrakanta, a 90s supernatural fantasy period drama based on an 1888 novel by Devki Nandan Khatri.

He had his breakthrough with Haasil (2003) and Maqbool (2004) after starring in the British film The Warrior (2001). Later, he gained critical acclaim for roles in The Namesake (2006), Life in a Metro (2007), and Paan Singh Tomar (2011). He won the National Film Award for Best Actor for playing the title character in the last one. He also had starring roles in The Lunchbox (2013), Piku (2015), and Talvar (2015), along with supporting roles in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015), and Inferno (2016). Slumdog Millionaire (2008), New York (2009), Haider (2014), Gunday (2014), and In Treatment (2010) are some of his other notable roles.

Khan starred in Karwaan with Dulquer Salmaan, Mithila Palkar, and Kriti Kharbanda in 2018. He also starred in Blackmail with Kirti Kulhari. His Hollywood film Puzzle was also released in 2018.

He won the Filmfare Award in 2018 and 2021 for best actor in the comedy-drama Hindi Medium (2017) and its sequel Angrezi Medium (2020).

On 28 April 2020, he was admitted to Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital to get treated for a colorectal infection. He died on 29 April 2020 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.


In 2011, He received the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India.

Posthumously, he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.

Over the course of his career, Khan won a National Film Award, an Asian Film Award, and six Filmfare Awards.

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Suman Kumar