Born in Jaipur, Rajasthan, into a Muslim Nawab family, Irrfan started his journey in showbiz after a professional acting course from the prestigious National School of Drama in New Delhi. In his earlier days in the entertainment industry, the actor was seen in TV shows like “Chanakya”, “Bharat Ek Khoj”, “Sara Jahan Hamara”, “Banegi Apni Baat”, “Chandrakanta”, “AnooGoonj” and “Sparsh”.
During the 1990s, he appeared in the critically acclaimed films like “Ek Doctor Ki Maut” and “Such a Long Journey” which, however, went unnoticed. He got more visibility after a stint in London-based director Asif Kapadia's “The Warrior”, which was screened at various international film festivals.
In Bollywood, Irrfan came into prominence with 2003 film “Haasil”, for which he received Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. After that, he started getting more meaty roles and appeared in films like “Maqbool”, “Aan: Men at Work”, “Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets” and “Life in a... Metro”. His role in "Paan Singh Tomar" won him a National Film Award. He also featured in the widely acclaimed film "The Lunchbox".
What made Irrfan more popular in the west were his roles in big films like “A Mighty Heart”, “The Namesake”, “Partition”, “New York, I Love You”, “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Jurassic World”. Irrfan has also played pivotal roles in multiple Oscar-winning films like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi”. Interestingly, his “Piku”, “Jurassic World” (Hollywood), “Talvar” and “Jazbaa”, all of which released in 2015, received appreciation both commercially as well as critically.