Irrfan Khan Birth Anniversary: Epic Performances That Made Him People’s Favourite

Irrfan Khan was not just another fine actor in the lot but rather a feeling that made our cinematic hearts do a little flip every time we saw him on screen. His films are like a warm cashmere wrapped on a chilly winter morning, giving us all the comfort we desire but never taking away the reality that a jittery cold breeze brings. As bright as the sun in the sky, Khan’s contribution to the world of cinema that has influenced us, taught us and helped us understand the meaning between every poetic line embedded in scenes solely relying on one’s eyes is enormous.

The loss of such a magnificent actor in the year 2020 did bring the world crashing down with grief and regret not to have seen the actor for one last time on the big screen. A genius in himself, Irrfan had gifted us with a lifetime of work that is worth cherishing. From box office successes to critically acclaimed indie films and others, the actor devoted himself to his passion for creating art and presenting his audience with one of the finest there is.

Born on January 7, 1967, there is no better day to celebrate and remember this actor’s contribution to the film industry and our lives. Making a tough call on what to pick and what not to, here are one of the best performances by Irrfan Khan that made him everyone’s favourite and will keep him evergreen in our hearts and minds.

7 Irrfan Khan Performances That Made Him A Favourite


The story of Macbeth might just be the most creatively adaptable piece of literature out there. Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj in 2004, this film is the first instalment in his Shakespeare trilogy. Playing the complex titular character in this film, Irrfan Khan rose to catch everyone’s eyes with his compelling acting that still pulls you in like a peat bog. Tabu, who plays the character of Lady Macbeth in the form of Nimmi, shares the actor’s charisma equally, making them deliver one of the best on-screen chemistry to date.

The Namesake

2006 saw Tabu and Irrfan reunite on screen for the Mira Nair film The Namesake based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel of the same name. The ones who believe that a film can never do justice to the book it is based on have not been privy to the excellence of The Namesake. As the quintessential Bengali man, husband and father named Ashoke, Irrfan Khan never loses a beat starting from posing as the shy groom-to-be to the strong father to the silent man who leaves people in the silence of the night. Tabu as Ashima is equally good, and, again, the energy these two share on screen is so precious and rare.

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An ordinary man with a talent to make people’s life extraordinary, Billu is the 2009 comedy-drama by Priyadarshan that stars Irrfan in the titular role along with Lara Dutta and Shah Rukh Khan. Although the film was a box office failure, it is truly an endearing tale to watch, with the collaboration of two names such as Irrfan’s and Shah Rukh’s making the experience all the more entertaining. A modern retelling of the story of Krishna-Sudama in every sense, Irrfan Khan’s nuanced portrayal and ticking dilemma in the film cannot be shelved. It will always be remembered as another one of those times the actor made himself pronounced irrespective of the numbers the film collected.

Paan Singh Tomar

As lethargic as the Indian film industry is getting by rehashing biopics in today’s time, a look back at the 2012 film Paan Singh Tomar directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and starring Irrfan Khan in the title role is a shining example of how to make a known story creatively simulating for the masses. Irrfan gives his audience a beautiful time mixing the golden shine of being an athlete with the stained personality of being pushed to be an outlaw, making the film a true tribute to all the unsung heroes of the sports industry in India.

The Lunchbox

Not all romances and friendships require you to hold a friend in times of need; sometimes, a few words are enough to lend a shoulder when the time comes. Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is a gentle yet impactful wave of the ocean in our lives that offered us the mundanity of life with the magic of words and memories. Every actor got in the skin of the characters they were playing, making the film a beautiful ode to love and friendship.

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Directed by Meghna Gulzar and written by Vishal Bhardwaj, Talvar was released as ‘Guilty’ internationally, covering one of the most brutal and mysterious homicide cases in India- the murder of 13-year-old Aarushi Talwar and 45-year-old man Hemraj Banjade. With Irrfan playing the CBI investigating officer of the case in the film and Bhardwaj’s Rashomon effect, the script and the acting made for an intense kaleidoscope of theories and conclusions that were ultimately a pawn to the guessing game or leap of faith the audience had to take by the end.


A social thriller that is a cult classic in the world of cinema, Madaari is Irrfan Khan again giving us his best. The 2016 film by Nishikant Kamat is not afraid to show the truth of today’s world, and Irrfan, as an actor is poignant in his role of portraying the extraordinary journey of a simple man, which makes for challenging the world and the norms it is built on.

Although there are seven performances mentioned in this list, Irrfan has given us more and touched our souls all the time. From Mumbai Meri Jaan to Hindi Medium to Tokyo Trials, the actor has always used his talent and position to leave the impressionable world with something valuable. As the years go by, Irrfan will be missed and remembered equally, for there is no heart that will not ache to see him smile once again.

Until then, let us hold on to his beautiful films. Most of his films and TV series are streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix.

Also Read: Happy Birthday Eddie Redmayne: Taking a Look At the Actor’s Remarkable Performances

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