Irrfan Khan’s detractors often pointed out how he only chose intense roles and would not be able to pull off comedy. The talented actor shut the naysayers down with his stellar performance in ‘Piku’. He played the role of Rana Chaudhary, an impatient but good-hearted businessman who runs a fleet of taxis. Supported by a terrific script by writer Juhi Chaturvedi, Irrfan displayed his flair for comedy in the Shoojit Sircar-directed movie. His fun banter with Amitabh Bachchan’s Bhashkor was among the many highlights of the feel-good film.




No matter what his screen time, Irrfan Khan is one of those stars who stand out owing to their unmatched acting skills. Meghna Gulzar’s ‘Talvar’, which was inspired by the Aarushi Talwar murder case, had Irrfan playing the investigating officer who is determined to get to the bottom of the case. As the sharp and incisive officer, Irrfan was at the top of his game in the crime drama.


03/5​The Lunchbox

​The Lunchbox

Irrfan Khan stole the show as the reticent widower Saajan Fernandes who strikes an unusual epistolary friendship with a housewife, Ila (Nimrat Kaur). As the friendship blossoms over letters exchanged through lunch boxes, both Saajan and Ila find themselves sharing memories and events of their individual lives. From his loneliness to his own surprise at finding himself falling in love again at the dusk of his life, Irrfan expressed every emotion beautifully through his eyes. The film, upon its release in 2013, won acclaim from the world over and was a favourite at many international film festivals.


04/5​Paan Singh Tomar

​Paan Singh Tomar

With this Tigmanshu Dhulia-directed film, Irrfan Khan truly came into his own. The actor portrayed the role of Indian Army soldier Paan Singh Tomar who is forced by trying circumstances to become a dacoit. The biographical drama won critical acclaim upon its release and became a breakthrough film in Irrfan’s career. He bagged the National Award for Best Actor for his gritty performance in the drama.




When you have Irrfan Khan teaming up with a brilliant filmmaker like Vishal Bhardwaj, you know you’re in for a cinematic treat. The actor showcased his gravitas as he held his own among stalwarts like Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, and Om Puri. An adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, the 2003 film saw Irrfan delivering a nuanced portrayal of the tragic hero torn between his lover and his loyalty for his mentor.