Why Bollywood Loved — and Lost — Fawad Khan

It’s been years since fans have seen the iconic Pakistani actor in Hindi cinema. But they can’t seem to forget him.

Fawad feature
Fawad Khan (Radio Rani for The Juggernaut)

Snigdha Sur


March 24, 2021


9 min

Before he became the jacked prince in Khoobsurat (2014), the beloved son and brother in Kapoor & Sons (2016), the punk DJ in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016), or the devoted husband in Humsafar (2011) or Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012), Fawad Khan was a computer programmer, singer, rock band member, and painfully shy. Born to a Pathan, Punjabi family in Karachi, Khan probably wouldn’t have predicted he would have become such a sensation across the border, in Bollywood. The thing is, Khan was nothing like the other new actors of the Hindi silver screen. He is married to his childhood sweetheart Sadaf. He refuses to kiss his co-stars. He has nothing bad to say about fellow actors. Oh, and he was a frequent collaborator of filmmaker Karan Johar. In sum, Fawad Khan reminded us of another Bollywood king, Shah Rukh Khan. In another world, maybe Fawad would have become the fourth Khan after Shah Rukh, Aamir, and Salman. Instead, the politics of an increasingly sectarian country stole away the best shot at an emerging superstar most had seen in decades. This is the story of Fawad Khan’s inevitable rise in India and his untimely disappearance.

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