“People like to see my work, not my face.”Irrfan Khan (1967 – 2020)
Indrajeet Pratap Singh from Saheb, Biwi and Gangster Return; Saajan Fernandes in The Lunchbox, Mr. Masrani from Jurrasic World, or even as the police officer from Slumdog Millionaire — the man who immortalized such colorful characters is no more.
Irrfan Khan died at 53 on 29 April 2020, after putting up a prolonged and ferocious fight to a rare form of cancer. And with him, the Indian film industry, and quite frankly, the world of performing arts at large lost a gem.
He is albeit known for some of the most groundbreaking roles in Indian and international cinema, but did you know he has a rich list of television (series) to his name?
If you are looking to celebrate his television performances, here a specially curated list of his Indian and international TV shows that are totally binge-worthy.
Tokyo Trial (2016)
Synopsis: A four-part mini-series that puts perspective on the decade-long investigation into events in the Pacific during and after WWII. ‘The International Military Tribunal for the Far East’ is the Japanese version of the German Nuremberg Trials, where war criminals were tried after the Second World War.
Irrfan Khan’s role: Justice Radhabinod Pal
His character justice Radhabinod Pal was added last-minute addition from India to the tribunal because the Allies wanted an Asian, but ironically India was then still a British colony. Irrfan’s portrayal of a dissenting judge who was set to carve his own legal point of view gives a much needed philosophical backbone to the series.
Appears in: All four episodes.
Also starring: Tim Ahern, Paul Freeman, Serge Hazanavicius
Where to watch: Netflix
In Treatment (2010)
Synopsis: A TV drama on psychotherapist Dr. Paul Weston’s sessions with his patients in his own home.
Irrfan Khan’s Role: Sunil Sanyal
Khan is perhaps best known to the US audience for his Season 3 role on HBO’s In Treatment, where he played retired math professor Sunil from Bengal, who is coping with his wife’s death. He reluctantly visits Paul to discuss this and his subsequent displacement to the U.S.
Appears in: Season 3 premiere episode
Also starring: Gabriel Byrne
Where to Watch: HBO, Disney + Hotstar
Jai Hanuman (1997)
Synopsis: A Hindi television adaptation of the Hindu mythological epic Ramayana, from the perspective of Hanuman that aired from 1997 to 2000. It covers the birth of Hanuman and Rama and goes on till the time of Tulsidas.
Irrfan Khan’s role: Irrfan Khan played the role of sage and Sanskrit poet Valmiki.
Appears: 178 episodes
Also Starring: Siraj Mustafa Khan, Raj Premi
Where to watch: Disney +Hotstar/ Youtube
Banegi Apni Baat (1994)
(Romcom, Slice of Life, Coming of Age)
Synopsis: Hindi teledrama that aired from 1993 to 1997 in India, depicting the ups and downs in the lives of young college kids. It was a breakthrough show that launched several famous actors and actresses into the net decade.
Irrfan Khan’s role: He played Kumar, one of the central characters. He starts off as an abusive father, who’s wife leaves the family. The character development of Kumar from a careless father, to a man who learns from his mistakes and takes care of his family, is one f the key themes of the show.
Also starring: R Madhavan, Firdaus Dadi
Where to watch: Zee5
(Mythological, fantasy, period drama)
Synopsis: A star crossed love story between two enemy kingdoms’ prince and princess, based on Neerja Guleri’s book by the same name. The princess also becomes an object of desire for a villainous king who resorts to war and black magic to win her hand in marriage.
Irrfan Khan’s role: Irrfan apparently reluctantly agreed to the future in this fantasy show, after his friend Shahbaaz Khan requested him. He quickly earned fame by his meticulous portrayal of twins Badrinath and Somnath, who have very distinct personalities.
Also starring: Shikha Swaroop, Shahbaaz Khan
Where to watch: Youtube (Some episodes are missing)
Bharat Ek Khoj (1988)
Synopsis: A 53-episode Indian historical drama based on India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s book The Discovery of India (1946), which covers a 5000-year history of India from its beginnings to independence from the British in 1947.
Irrfan Khan’s role: Irrfan reprised several well-known figures in this with the most prevalent one being Al Beruni
Also starring: Roshan Seth, Om Puri, Tom Alter
Where to watch: YouTube
Other noteworthy mentions include Kiirdar (1993), Star Bestsellers (1999), The Great Maratha (1994), etc. This list is in order of newest to the oldest show to have released, and only includes the ones you can find online to watch.