We are delighted to welcome Bollywood screen legend Irrfan Kahn (appearing at the Festival in The Lunchbox and Qissa) for an in-depth onstage discussion of his storied filmography, which includes the Academy Award–winning features Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.
In Conversation With...Irrfan Khan
Widely considered one of the finest actors of his generation, Irrfan Khan is certainly among the most versatile, having worked extensively in both the Indian film industry and in international productions, culminating in his roles in recent Hollywood blockbusters The Amazing Spider-Man and the Academy Award–winning Life of Pi. To Festival audiences, he's perhaps best remembered for his portrayal of a dogged police inspector in Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, for which the 2008 Festival People's Choice Award was only the first of a great many accolades. In fact, Khan's connection to the Festival goes back some twenty-five years: his first film credit was Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay!, which made its world premiere in Toronto in 1988.
Khan was born in Jaipur, India, in 1967, and studied at New Delhi's prestigious National School of Drama. Much of his early work was in television, but he found periodic roles in features, including acclaimed Canadian co-production Such a Long Journey (a Festival selection in 1998). His breakthrough arrived in the form of 2001's BAFTA-winning The Warrior from Senna director Asif Kapadia, which gave Khan his first starring role.
In the following decade, he would appear at the Festival a further five times (notably reteaming with Mira Nair for The Namesake in 2006) and collaborate with a host of esteemed filmmakers, including Wes Anderson and Michael Winterbottom.
In this Mavericks session, Khan joins us
on stage to survey his quarter-century in
cinema, and to discuss his contributions
to two of this year's Festival films, Ritesh
Batra's The Lunchbox and Anup Singh's
Qissa. He arrives as a recent recipient of
the Best Actor prize at India's National
Film Awards, as well as the Padma Shri —
one of India's highest civilian honours — for
his contributions to the arts. Given that his
minor part in Salaam Bombay! was actually
left on the cutting-room floor, the scale
of his achievements since then makes this a
particularly triumphant return.