Saahabzaade Irfan Ali Khan (born 7 January 1966), credited as Irrfan Khan or simply Irrfan, is an actor, known for his work predominantly in , as well as his works in and . In a film career spanning almost thirty years and featuring in more than fifty domestic films, Khan has received numerous awards, including a and in four categories. Film critics, contemporaries and other experts consider him to be one of the finest actors in for his versatile and natural acting. In 2011, he was awarded the , India's fourth highest civilian honour for his contribution to the field of arts.
Domestically, he made his screen debut with the nominated film (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 films (2003) and (2004), for the former he won the . The successful drama (2007) marked a turning point in Khan's career, earning him praise and several awards including the . He rose to prominence with his portrayal of in the acclaimed sports drama (2011), which garnered him the and a . His performance in the nominated romance (2013) earned him universal acclaim by the critics and audiences. Khan went on to feature in the commercially and critically successful films (2014), (2014), (2015) and (2015). His highest-grossing Hindi release came with the critically acclaimed (2017), which became a sleeper hit in and , which ranks among and earned him praise for his performance, winning several awards including the .
Globally, Khan has worked in several international projects such as (2001), (2006), (2007), the Academy Award winning film (2008), (2009), (2012), (2012), (2015) and (2016). As of 2017, his films have grossed US$3.643 billion at the worldwide box office.
In 2018, Khan was diagnosed with a .
Khan was born in , to a 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 , and ran a business. . Irrfan was good at cricket, having been selected for the (for emerging players under 23 years, a stepping stone to ). He did not turn up for the tournament owing to lack of funds.
Khan was studying for his MA degree when he earned a scholarship to study at (NSD) in New Delhi in 1984.
Khan moved to , where he acted in numerous television serials, including , , Sara Jahan Hamara, , , Shrikant (), AnooGoonj on Doordarshan, Star Bestsellers (), and Sparsh. Earlier, he had acted in a teleplay on Doordarshan named Laal Ghaas Par Neele Ghode where he played . It was based on a translation by of a Russian play by Mikhail Shatrov. He was the main villain in a series called Darr (which aired on ), where he played the role of a psycho serial killer, opposite . He also played the role of famous revolutionary Urdu poet and Marxist political activist of India in , produced by .
He acted in some of the episodes of (aired on Star-Plus). In one of the episodes (Ek Sham Ki Mulakat), his role was of a who has a misconception that his landlord's wife is trying to seduce him and it turns out that his own wife () is 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 ) 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 offered him a in (1988) though his role was edited out in the final film.
In the 1990s, he appeared in the critically acclaimed films and (1998) and various other films which went unnoticed. After many unsuccessful films, things changed when London-based director gave him the lead in , a historical film completed in 11 weeks on location in and . In 2001 The Warrior opened in international film festivals, making Khan a known face.
In 2003–04 he acted in 's short film, Road to Ladakh. After the film received rave reviews at international festivals, the film was being made into a full-length feature starring Khan. That same year he played the title role in the critically acclaimed , an adaptation of 's .
His first lead role came in 2005 with film . 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". Thereafter he appeared in several films either playing the leading role or a supporting role as a . In 2004 he won the for his role in film . 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". He also played an in the Telugu film .
In 2007, he appeared in the box office hits , for which he received a , and . His chemistry with Konkana Sen in was one of the highlights of the multi-star movie. They were closely followed by his appearance in the international films and .
Even after his success in Bollywood, he has continued his television career. He anchored a show (airing on ). He hosted another programme named which was similar to Mano Ya Na Mano.
In 2008, he was featured as a narrator in an Arts Alliance production, . The performance toured worldwide, with tens of thousands turning out to see the event as it toured the . He also plays the police inspector in the 2008 film , for which he and the cast of the movie won a . 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."
In 2009, he featured in the film . Khan has stated that he wants to do more action films in the future. He also appeared as an agent in and as a Gujarati diamond merchant in . His film, , about real-life athlete turned . Paan Singh Tomar received extremely favourable reviews by critics.
In 2010, he worked on the third season of the HBO series , 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 in 2012. Khan played the adult version of Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel in 's film adaptation of , which became a critical and commercial success worldwide. In 2013, he starred in , which won the Grand Rail d'Or at and received a nomination, and became his highest-grossing up until then.
In 2014, Khan appeared in , which was a moderate box office success. He also made guest appearances in the films and , playing an important role in the latter. In 2015, he played the lead role in the film alongside and . Khan co-starred in the 2015 film . In the same year, he also appeared in the acclaimed thriller in which his performance was praised. He appeared in in October 2015 alongside which was very well received by critics. He was next seen alongside in the 2016 adaptation of 's thriller .
In the year 2017, Khan appeared in two films, and , out of which 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 of that year. Hindi Medium became a sleeper hit in and , becoming his highest-grossing Hindi release, surpassing The Lunchbox. As of 2017, his films have grossed 3.643 billion at the worldwide box office.
In 2018, Khan will appear in , with , and . And the film is scheduled to be released on 1 June 2018. He will also appear in opposite in the same year. He also committed to work in which will go on floors in late 2018. It will be directed by who before directed &
In September 2015, he was appointed as the for "Resurgent Rajasthan", a campaign by the . 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 triumphs in battle from olden days till today.
On 23 February 1995, Khan married writer and fellow NSD graduate Sutapa Sikdar. They have two sons, Babil and Ayan.
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 . "Once he dragged me to a police station in Mumbai to understand procedure," she recalls. 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.
In February 2018, Khan was diagnosed with "undisclosed disease", and it was speculated by many media outlets that he has "". After much speculation, the actor took to his Twitter account and announced that he will "share his story" in "a week - ten days" and has asked the media and fans not to "speculate" anything. After his response, many actors have asked the public to respect Khan's wish, including Sonam Kapoor, and On March 16, 2018, Khan announced through a Twitter post that he is suffering from .. There were also rumors that Khan had been consulting Ayurvedic doctors; it was later clarified by his spokesperson that Khan had contacted Vaidya Balendu Prakash only once, and called it a publicity stunt which the doctor had used for personal gain. In his Twitter post Khan also said that he would be travelling abroad for his treatment, which was confirmed by his spokesperson ten days later. He is currently in London for treatment purposes.