Kabir Khan (director)

Kabir Khan is an Indian film director, screenwriter and cinematographer who works in Hindi cinema. He started his career working in documentary films, and then made his feature film directorial debut in 2006 with Kabul Express. He is best known for directing Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015). His latest film 83 was released in (2021).[2]

Kabir Khan
Kabir Khan at IFFI 2022.jpg
Khan at IFFI 2022
Born (1968-09-14) 14 September 1968 (age 54)
Alma materKirori Mal College, Delhi University
Jamia Millia Islamia
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
SpouseMini Mathur
ParentRasheeduddin Khan

He is the board member of Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image.[3]

Early life and backgroundEdit

Khan was born to Rasheeduddin Khan, a Muslim Urdu Speaking father and Leela Narayan Rao, a Hindu Telugu-speaking mother. Rasheeduddin, who was a Pathan hailing from Kaimganj in Farrukhabad district, Uttar Pradesh, was a nephew of Dr. Zakir Hussain (President of India – 1967 to 1969) and a communist politician favored by Indira Gandhi as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha at a relatively young age, in the early 1970s. He was also a professor of political science, and in the early 1970s, he became one of the founding professors of Jawaharlal Nehru University.[4] His sister, Anusheh, is the wife of film-maker Vijay Krishna Acharya, director of films like Tashan and Dhoom 3.[5]

Khan studied at Kirori Mal College of Delhi University, as well as Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi.[6] He is married to television host & actress Mini Mathur, with whom he has 2 children,[7] Vivaan and Sairah.[8]

In initial days, he worked with prominent journalist like Saeed Naqvi.[9] Before becoming a full time film maker he has worked as a camera man and director with Saeed Naqvi and travelled across the globe to cover international issues.

Film careerEdit

Khan started his career at age 25 as a cinematographer for the Discovery Channel documentary film Beyond the Himalayas (1996) directed by Gautam Ghosh. He then made his own directorial debut with the documentary The Forgotten Army (1999) based on Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army. He then directed two more documentaries before shifting his focus to mainstream cinema.[10]

Khan debuted through the Yash Raj Films-backed Kabul Express, which gained him the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director at the 54th National Film Awards. He then went on to direct two more films with Yash Raj Films, namely New York and Ek Tha Tiger. While Kabul Express was a below average performer, both New York and Ek Tha Tiger led him to mainstream success.

After his 3-film deal with Yash Raj Films ended, Khan set up his own production company, and ventured into mainstream screenwriting with Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which is his most-successful film to date, and has been the third highest-grossing Indian film globally. The film garnered the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment at the 63rd National Film Awards.[11][12] After the success of Bajrangi Bhaijaan,[citation needed] he directed Katrina Kaif and Saif Ali Khan in Phantom, an all-out actioner based on the 26/11 attacks.

Khan again collaborated with Salman on Tubelight, an official remake of the 2015 American film Little Boy, which was based in the backdrop of the 1962 Sino-Indian war and marked the debut of Chinese actress Zhu Zhu, with a worldwide release in June 2017. The film, just like the original, met with negative reviews, but was slightly better received due to Salman's performance and the direction. Later, in 2019, his first web series, The Forgotten Army: Azaadi Ke Liye, a 5-episode original based on Subhas Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Fauj, released on Amazon Prime Video. The series has a different premise from his 1999 documentary of the same name.[1]

His next film is The Zookeeper, a Sino-Indian production.[13][14] It is a travel-related drama film which is being shot in the Chinese city of Chengdu and the surrounding region.[15][16] The film has an estimated budget of $25 million (₹185 crore), and it will star a leading Indian actor and a leading Chinese actress.[17]

In the end of 2021, his long-awaited film 83, was released. It is based on India's historic victory at the 1983 Cricket World Cup, in which Ranveer Singh plays the role of Kapil Dev, the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team. It received widespread critical acclaim.[18] Made on a budget of ₹270 crore, the film only managed a worldwide gross collection of ₹190.86 crore and was deemed a box-office failure.[19]


Year Work Credited as Notes Producers
Director Producer Writer
1996 Beyond the Himalayas No No No Documentary; Cinematographer
1999 The Forgotten Army Yes No No Documentary
2006 Kabul Express Yes No Yes National Awards for Best Debut Director Yash Raj Films
2009 New York Yes No No
2012 Ek Tha Tiger Yes No Yes
2015 Bajrangi Bhaijaan Yes Yes No National Film Award for Best Entertainment Popular Film Eros International
Salman Khan Films
Rockline Venkatesh
Kabir Khan
Phantom Yes No Yes Sajid Nadiadwala
Siddharth Roy Kapur
2017 Tubelight Yes Yes Yes Salman Khan Films
Kabir Khan
2020 The Forgotten Army - Azaadi Ke Liye Yes Yes Yes Television series Amazon Studios
2021 83 Yes Yes Yes Kabir Khan
Deepika Padukone
Vishnu Vardhan Induri
Sajid Nadiadwala
Madhu Mantena
Reliance Entertainment

Frequent collaborationsEdit

Artists Kabul Express
New York
Ek Tha Tiger
Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Salman Khan      
Katrina Kaif      
John Abraham    
Roshan Seth    
Nawazuddin Siddiqui    
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub    
Om Puri    
Julius Packiam              

Awards and nominationsEdit

Film Award Category Result Ref
The Forgotten Army Film South Asia 1999 Jury Award Won
Kabul Express 54th National Film Awards Best Debut Director Won [20]
2007 Asian First Film Festival Swarovski Trophy for Best Director Won [21]
"Purple Orchid" Award for the Best Film Won
New York 33rd Cairo International Film Festival Golden Pyramid Award for Best Film Nominated
Ek Tha Tiger Stardust Awards 2013 Hottest New Filmmaker Won
3rd BIG Star Entertainment Awards Most Entertaining Director Nominated
Bajrangi Bhaijaan 63rd National Film Awards Best Popular Film with Entertainment (share with Salman Khan and Rockline Venkatesh) Won [23]
61st Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated [24]
Stardust Awards 2015 Best Film of the Year Won [25]
Best Director Won
Best Screenplay (with Vijayendra Prasad) Nominated
Big Star Entertainment Awards 2015 Most Entertaining Social Film Nominated [27]
Most Entertaining Director Won
Indian Telly Awards Gary Binder Award for the Young Successful Director of the Year Won
Indian Television Academy Awards Popular Director Won
17th IIFA Awards Best Film Won [29]
Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay (with Parveez Shaikh) Won
11th Apsara Awards Best Film Won [30]
Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
22nd Screen Awards Best Film Won [31]
Best Director Won
Zee Cine Awards Best Film (Viewers' Choice) Won
83 22nd IIFA Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Story Won
67th Filmfare Awards Best Director Pending
Best Screenplay Pending
Best Dialogue Pending


  1. ^ "Kabir Khan: Salman has no complexity and no complex". The Times of India. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  2. ^ "'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' director Kabir Khan: Hanuman doesn't belong to only one community". The Indian Express. 24 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Mumbai Academy of Moving Image - Trustees Site". www.mumbaifilmfestival.com.
  4. ^ Gupta, Priya. "Kabir Khan: Salman has no complexity and no complex". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  5. ^ "MFF 17, by Jio-MAMI, Festival Diary, III | Filmfestivals.com". filmfestivals.com. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Kabir Khan filmography". Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  7. ^ "How did Kabir Khan marry Mini Mathur?". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  8. ^ Post New York Kabir Khan busy babysitting Hindustan Times, 7 July 2009
  9. ^ "'I've not met a more charismatic man than Mandela'". Rediff. Retrieved 11 September 2021. In 1995, I got the opportunity to assist Saeed Naqvi, a senior journalist who was shooting a documentary in South Africa on the role of people of Indian origin in the African National Congress
  10. ^ "Kabul Express is based on my experiences". Rediff.com. 3 July 2006. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  11. ^ "63rd National Film Awards" (PDF) (Press release). Directorate of Film Festivals. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Salman and Kareena come together for Bajrangi Bhaijaan". The Indian Express. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Eros International Announces Indian Subsidiary Results". Business Wire. 23 May 2018.
  14. ^ Hungama, Bollywood (20 May 2019). "Contrary to reports in Chinese media, Kabir Khan's Indo-China film The Zookeeper won't release in January 2020 :Latest Bollywood News – Bollywood Hungama". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  15. ^ "After Tubelight, Kabir Khan to shoot his next film Zookeeper in China". The Indian Express. 23 May 2017.
  16. ^ Wang, Yue (5 February 2018). "Chinese Moviegoers Are Developing Diversified Tastes, Which Doesn't Bode Well For Hollywood". Forbes. Archived from the original on 6 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Eros International's Trinity Pictures Announces Two Indo-Chinese Co-Productions with Leading Chinese Film Companies, Peacock Mountain Culture & Media Ltd and Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd". Business Wire. 15 July 2016.
  18. ^ "83 Movie Review: FIVE reasons why you should not miss Kabir Khan's sports drama starring Ranveer Singh". The Times of India. 23 December 2021. Archived from the original on 25 December 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  19. ^ Subhash K Jha (4 January 2022). "Why 83 underperformed at the box office: More docudrama than masala, high ticket prices, no youth connect, third wave". Firstpost.
  20. ^ "54th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 October 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Asian Festival of 1st Films 2007 & 2009". asianfirstfilms.com. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  22. ^ "List of Awards won by Kabul Express movie". yashrajfilms.com. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  23. ^ "Call for entries; 63rd National Film Awards for 2015" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  24. ^ "Nominations for the 61st Britannia Filmfare Awards". Filmfare. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Nominations for Stardust Awards 2015". Bollywood Hungama. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Out now: Complete winners list of Stardust Awards 2015". indiatvnews. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  27. ^ "Winners of the Big Star Entertainment Awards 2015". Bollywood Hungama. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  28. ^ "Big Star Entertainment Awards 2015 Nominations List". filmibeat. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  29. ^ "Deepika, Ranveer starrer 'Bajirao Mastani' leads IIFA 2016 nominations". The Indian Express. Press Trust of India. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  30. ^ "Winners of 11th Renault Sony Guild Awards". Bollywood Hungama. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  31. ^ Sharma, Smrity (1 January 2017). "22nd Screen Awards: When Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan tried to do an Aamir Khan but failed miserably!". India.com. Retrieved 19 October 2018.

External linksEdit