Kirron Anupam Kher (also Kiran or, Kiron born 14 June 1955) is an Indian theatre, film and television actress, a TV talk show host and a member of the Bhartiya Janata Party. In May 2014, she was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian Parliament from Chandigarh.
Kiran Kher made her film debut in 1983 in the Punjabi feature film Aasra Pyar Da, a non-descript production which sank without a trace. After this, she took a hiatus from films. Between 1983 and 1996, she appeared in exactly one film, Pestonjee (1987), wherein she acted in a bit role alongside her second husband Anupam Kher.
Her return to acting came in the mid-1990s, through theatre, with the play Saalgirah written by playwright Javed Siddiqui and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.She then hosted three television shows, starting with the short-lived Purushkshetra on Zee TV which got attention for bringing out the discussion of alternative sexuality for the first time, while also highlighting women’s issues. Kiron Kher Today and Jagte Raho with Kiron Kher, before doing Hindi films.
Her comeback film was by Shyam Benegal, Sardari Begum (1996), which won her the Special Jury Award at the 1997 National Film Awards.
She then appeared in film director Rituparno Ghosh’s Bengali film Bariwali (1999), to critical acclaim.When she won the National Film Award for Best Actress for the film, a controversy arose as a Bangla film actress, Rita Koiral, claimed that she had dubbed for the character of Kiron, making her an equal claimant to the award. Kirron refuted the charges claiming she spent hours rehearsing for her dialogue delivery, and the award was eventually not shared.
In 2002, Kirron appeared in Devdas (2002), alongside Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai, and was nominated for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.
In Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters) (2003), a film that portrays the plight of a woman abducted during partition of India, her character not only refused to kill herself as suggested by her family, but marries her abductor and, after his death, makes an earning teaching Quran to local children. It shows how her life changes dramatically when her son takes up Islamic extremism in 1979 during the rule of Zia-ul-Haq and his process of Islamization of Pakistan.She won the Best Actress Award, at Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland, the Karachi International Film Festival, Karachi, and International Festivals at Ciepie in Argentina, and Cape Town in South Africa while the film won the Best Film – Golden Leopard, Festival Grand Prize at Locarno.
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) 2004 paid tribute to Kirron during its annual festival.