Kirron Kher, a name that resonates in Indian cinema, has worn multiple hats throughout her life, transcending the realms of entertainment and politics. Born on 14th June 1952 in Bangalore, India, Kirron has journeyed from the glamour of film sets to the hallowed halls of the Indian Parliament, captivating hearts and minds every step of the way.
Kirron, originally known as Kiran Thakar Singh Sandhu, hails from a Punjabi Jatt Sikh family. Her formative years were spent in the beautiful city of Chandigarh. She went through a name evolution due to her marriages, with "Kiran Berry" during her first marriage and "Kirron Kher" after her marriage to the renowned actor Anupam Kher. In 2003, guided by her belief in numerology, she made a transformational decision to change her name from "Kiran" to "Kirron."
Her family is filled with accomplished individuals. Her brother, the talented artist Amardeep Singh Sandhu, added an artistic dimension to their family. One of her sisters, Kanwal Thakar Kaur, even received the prestigious Arjuna Award for her excellence in badminton. Her other sister, Sharanjit Kaur Sandhu, is the wife of a retired senior officer of the Indian Navy.
Education-wise, Kirron pursued her early schooling in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, before moving to Chandigarh to complete her education. She graduated from the Department of Indian Theatre at Panjab University, Chandigarh, thereby taking her first steps towards a career in the performing arts.
In the first week of March 1979, Kirron married Gautam Berry, a Mumbai-based businessman, and the couple was blessed with a son named Sikandar Kher. However, her passion for the world of acting eventually led her to a remarkable journey of career and personal transformation.
Kirron's initial foray into acting commenced in 1983 when she appeared in the Punjabi film "Aasra Pyar Da." After this debut, she took a hiatus from films until 1996. During these early years, she crossed paths with Anupam Kher, a fellow actor struggling to make his mark in the industry. Their shared connection grew stronger, and they collaborated on a play titled "Chandpuri Ki Champabai." In 1985, she took a pivotal step by divorcing her first husband, setting the stage for her return to the world of cinema.
Kirron Kher's return to acting was a carefully planned comeback. She began her journey through theatre with the play "Saalgirah," written by the renowned playwright Javed Siddiqui and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan. Her talent and versatility shone in this medium, but she didn't stop there. Kirron Kher transitioned to television, where she hosted three shows, one of which, "Purushkshetra," garnered attention for addressing alternative sexuality and women's issues.
The pivotal moment in her cinematic career came with "Sardari Begum" in 1996, directed by Shyam Benegal. Her remarkable performance in the film earned her the National Film Award – Special Jury Award (Feature Film), further solidifying her status as a remarkable actor in the Indian film industry.
Kirron's acting prowess extended beyond mainstream Hindi cinema. She ventured into Bengali films with Rituparno Ghosh's "Bariwali" in 1999, receiving critical acclaim for her remarkable acting skills. In recognition of her outstanding performance in the film "Khamosh Pani" (Silent Waters), she received numerous awards, including the Best Actress Award at international film festivals.
Her notable Hindi films include "Devdas" (2002), where she starred alongside Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Madhuri Dixit. This film propelled her further into the limelight, earning her a Filmfare Award nomination. Subsequent roles in movies such as "Rang De Basanti" (2006), "Fanaa" (2006), and "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" (2006) showcased her acting depth and drew critical acclaim.
While Kirron Kher often played supporting roles in films, her versatility shone through, earning her nominations and accolades. Some of her notable movies include "Main Hoon Na" (2004), "Hum Tum" (2004), "Veer-Zaara" (2004), and "Mangal Pandey: The Rising" (2005). Her work in films like "Fanaa" and "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" brought her Filmfare Award nominations. The audience and critics alike lauded her performances, recognising her remarkable contribution to Indian cinema.
Apart from her incredible acting career, Kirron Kher actively engaged in various socio-political activities. She contributed to non-profit movements such as "Laadli," which fought against female infanticide, and "Roko Cancer," a campaign aimed at raising awareness about cancer.
Her involvement with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2009 marked the beginning of her political journey. Kirron campaigned tirelessly across the country for the party and was a vocal admirer of the party's Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. Her journey in politics culminated with her successful election to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, in 2014 from Chandigarh.
As a Member of Parliament, Kirron Kher championed several initiatives, including her promise to establish a film city in Chandigarh. The Chandigarh Administration has accepted her proposal, with the film city slated to be set up in Sarangpur, Chandigarh.
Kirron Kher, like any public figure, faced her share of controversies. One such instance was a statement she made following a 2017 gang rape in Chandigarh. Her suggestion that women should avoid travelling with strangers stirred widespread criticism from the opposition and on social media.
In 2019, she secured victory once again in the Chandigarh constituency during the Indian general elections, demonstrating her continued popularity among the electorate.
Kirron Kher's life has been a journey of evolution, resilience, and versatility. From the world of theatre and cinema to the challenging arena of politics, she has carved a niche for herself, leaving an indelible mark on every path she has chosen to tread.