Irrfan Khan: Master of versatility

One of the most celebrated actors of Indian cinema Irrfan Khan breathed his last on April 29, 2020 after battling a rare cancer. The actor was rushed to Mumbai hospital yesterday complaining of a colon infection.

Actor Irrfan Khan was an Indian film actor, majorly known for his work in Hindi cinema (Bollywood). He has also worked in British films and Hollywood. In his career of nearly 30 years, Irrfan received many awards– National Film Award and Filmfare Awards in four categories. He is referred to as one of the finest actors that Indian cinema has produced.

Irrfan Khan Early Life

Irrfan Khan was born as Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan on January 7, 1966, in Jaipur, Rajasthan to a Muslim Pashtun family. Irrfan Khan’s mother Begum Khan hailed from the Tonk Hakim family and his father Late Jagiradar Khan was from Khajuriya village near the Tonk district. Irrfan Khan’s father ran a tire business and his mother was a housewife. Irrfan Khan died on April 29, 2020, at the age of 54 years due to colon infection.

Irrfan Khan Education

Irrfan Khan was a skilled cricketer and was selected for CK Nayudu Tournament– a stepping stone to First-Class cricket for under 23 players. However, he did not turn up for the tournament owing to lack of funds.

In 1984, Irrfan Khan was doing his Master of Arts degree when he got a scholarship to study at National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi.

Irrfan Khan family

Irrfan Khan married Sutapa Sikdar (a Hindu Brahmin) in 1995. The couple has two sons: Ayaan Khan and Babil Khan. Sutapa is an Indian Film Producer, Dialogue Writer and Screenplay Writer. She is a part of many famous movies– Khamoshi: The Musical (Dialogue Writer, 1996), Supari (Dialogue Writer, 2003), Kahaani (Dialogue Writer, 2003), Madaari (Producer, 2016), Qarib Qarib Singlle (Producer, 2017).

Irrfan Khan acting career

Irrfan Khan enacted in various television series– Chanakya, Bharat Ek Khoj, Sara Jahan Hamara, Banegi Apni Baat, Chandrakanta, Shrikant (Doordarshan), AnooGoonj, etc. Irrfan acted as the main villain in ‘Darr’ series which aired on Star Plus. In another television series, Irrfan played as a revolutionary Urdu poet and Marxist political activist of India Makhdoom Mohiuddin. He made his Bollywood debut in 1998 with ‘Salaam Bombay.’

Here’s the IANS guide to his top 10 Bollywood films:

“Paan Singh Tomar”

He brought the life story of the late Paan Singh Tomar, a champion athlete who later became a bandit, to the big screen. It wasn’t easy to get into the skin of Tomar, who later came to be known as the ‘Bandit King’ of the Chambal Valley.

“Two months before the shoot, I took physical training from a Delhi-based national-level coach on Steeplechase. It was difficult but enjoyable. I also undertook lessons on voice modulation and pronouncation as I had to speak in local dialect,” Irrfan had said in a 2012 interview with Indian Express.

The film, helmed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, fetched him National Award for Best Actor.

“The Lunchbox”

The 2013 film was a romantic movie but not the usual one with actors lip-syncing to love ballads. He played a lonely man on the verge of retirement. But before his office days are over, a mistaken lunchbox delivery changes his life.

“I long to explore romance in different ways. I don’t often get that chance. This concept of love, we misuse the term. Love is a pure connection, a strong longing,” the actor had said in an interview to The Star in 2014.


It was essentially a father-daughter film that was appreciated by many for Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone’s natural acting. But Irrfan knew how to make his presence felt in the Shoojit Sircar directorial that had released in 2015. He played the role of a man who ran a cab service in Delhi. His profession makes him join the fun yet emotional ride with the father and daughter in “Piku”.

“The script was so new. The flavour of the film, the emotions were all so new and fresh. That attracted me. Also, the team… Shoojit and Juhi (Chaturvedi, the writer of ‘Piku’). I was dying to work with them,” Irrfan had told India Today in 2015.


The 2004 crime drama about passion and power was an adaptation of the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare. In the Vishal Bhardwaj directorial that had Ames like Pankaj Kapur and Tabu attached to it, he played the title role — right-hand man of an ageing don.

“Life In A… Metro”

The multi-starrer had multiple stories in one film dealing with topics like extramarital affairs, love and heartbreaks. He essayed the role of a straightforward man desperately looking for a bride.

“I did not do any preparations for the role. My preparation was that I did not prepare for the role. I had complete faith in (director) Anurag Basu. The kind of character it was, it had to be done spontaneously. The only preparation was to think like a man who has not met a girl even though he is 37 years old now and still has not touched a girl. So one can imagine the desperation one feels when he has not touched a girl,” he had said jn an interview to


The 2016 movie showed him as a grieving father who later kidnapped a top politician’s son.

” I play a man who feels the system has collapsed completely and there is a need for a reform. My character is not based on any one individual. Nor is the film an attack on my political ideology,” Irrfan had told IANS in 2016.

“Hindi Medium”

In the 2017 comedy-drama, he played a rich businessman who did everything — even pretended to be underprivileged — just to get his daughter enrolled into an English school.


The 2018 movie took the audience on a fun road trip with Irrfan, Dulquer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar’s characters. Irrfan portrayed the friend who everyone would want in real life too. It showed his comic side and romantic sides too.


With a focus on student politics, the 2003 movie showed him as a student leader of Allahabad University that fetched him Filmfare Best Villain Award.

“Angrezi Medium”

The 2020 film was a spin-off to “Hindi Medium. “Angrezi Medium”, primarily a father-daughter story, was one of the last films that released before the COVID-19 lockdown. He played a sweet shop owner and single father set to fulfill his daughter’s dream to study in London.