Irrfan Khan (1967-2020): was an actor par excellence. For those who believe that nepotism is rampant in Bollywood, here’s an actor who entered the Hindi film industry with absolutely no affiliations and carved a niche for himself not only in India but also abroad. Before Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone made in roads to Hollywood, it was this talented actor who left audiences all over the world in awe of him and his talent with films like The Mighty Heart, Life of Pi, Jurassic World,  The Amazing Spiderman, Slumdog Millionaire and the like. In Bollywood, he proved his mettle and became a name to reckon with, courtesy films like Maqbool, The Lunchbox, Hindi Medium, Haider, Life In A Metro and Piku to name a few. His effortless ability to slip into any character is what sets him apart from his peers. Also Read - Irrfan Khan's Son Babil Pens A Note For His Mom: No One Cares, Except My Mumma

However, the man didn’t have a smooth ride since the beginning. He made his debut in films, way back in 1988 (with Mira Nair’s Academy award nominated film Salaam Bombay) but rose to fame only in the 2000s. However, there’s a lot that people still don’t know about the actor. Say for instance, did you know that he was pursuing an MA in his hometown Jaipur when he earned a scholarship to study at the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi in 1984? Apparently, he lied that he had past theatre experience. Well, today we’re glad that he did. Won’t you agree? However, there are many such facts about the actor that people have no clue about. As the versatile actor turns a year older today, we bring a list of 7 lesser known facts about him. Take a look at them below: (ALSO READ : ‘I’ll Bring Sahir Ludhianvi Into My Other Roles If I Don’t Get To Play Him In Gustakhiyan,’ Says Irrfan Khan) Also Read - ‘Better To Be A Chota Rajan’: Irrfan’s Wife Sutapa on Losing Relative Due to COVID-19

# Irrfan Khan’s original name is Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan. He didn’t like the fact that it was this long and therefore brought it down to Irfan Khan at first, and then Irrfan Khan, as he liked the sound of the additional ‘r’ in his name. Also Read - Irrfan Khan’s Wife Sutapa Shares Heartbreaking Post on How he died on 11:11 on April 29 Which Comes to ‘11.11.11’

# He hails from a village named Tonk in Jaipur. He was born in a well to do family of zamindars with a royal connection. His father was a wealthy Zamindar, who ran a lucrative family tyre business. He always wanted his son to join him. So if it wouldn’t have been for a lie and a chance scholarship to NSD, Irrfan Khan would have been handling his father’s business. He has two siblings.

# He is as tall as Amitabh Bachchan. Yes, he is 6 ft and 1 inch tall. Didn’t ever think of it that way now, did we?

# He has been detained at the airport in the United States of America, not once but twice, as his name resembles that of a terror suspect. Well, the US authorities have got to watch more Hollywood films, leave alone the Indian and the British ones.

# Despite being born in a Pathan family, who are predominantly meat eaters, Irrfan never enjoyed eating non vegetarian food. His father would often tease him, calling him a Brahmin boy who was accidentally born into a Pathan family. Till date, he prefers vegetarian food over non vegetarian.

# Irrfan Khan always wanted to be a cricketer.

# Irrfan Khan acted in a lot of TV shows between 1994 and 1998. At one point of time he was so bored, that he wanted to quit acting for good. If it hadn’t been for Asif Kapadia’s Warrior, he would have probably left the world of acting.

NSD changed his life around. He also met his wife, Sutapa Sikdar in the acting school with whom he had two children, Babil and Aryan. He was in his final year at NSD, when he got his big break and ,ever since, worked his way up, through talent, hardwork and recognising opportunity when it came his way. Having already completed 30 years in the field of acting, he is one of the biggest names to reckon with in the acting scene–both in India as well as abroad. While he has a couple of Bollywood films up his sleeves, his next most noteworthy Hollywood project is titled Puzzle, which will be a part of the Sundance festival’s world premiere. Thus, on his special day today, India.com wishes the actor a very Happy Birthday and hopes that the year ahead brings along a lot of luck, success and recognition.