Zakir Khan is one of the leading stars of India’s new generation of stand-up comedians and YouTubers. He first stole the limelight when he won Comedy Central’s contest of ‘India’s Best Stand-Up Comedian.’ He also writes and co-hosts ‘On Air with AIB’ (All India Bakchod), a comedy news channel. He has worked as a radio jockey, producer, copy writer and researcher for HT Media Ltd (Fever 104FM). He is from a musical background and very passionate about reciting and writing Urdu and Hindi poetry. He has a staggering following on YouTube and Twitter with 600k and 72k followers respectively. He often collaborates with other popular comedians and co-hosted the 5th Golden Kela Award with famous stand-up comedians Papa CJ and Vir Das. His famous YouTube video ‘Life Me Chahiye Izzat’ has over five million views. His rustic style and rib tickling presentation blended with a dig at his own self wins the heart of viewers of all ages.
Zakir Khan was not good in studies from his childhood. After finishing his schooling he decided to become a radio producer. He went to Delhi from his native Indore in 2008 to study radio programming in ARSL After one year in Delhi, he moved on to Jaipur and here he struggled a lot. Sometimes he even had to skip his lunch or dinner for want of money. Like a lone fisherman in a small boat into a rough sea, he braved many storms with a strong determination. He did several odd jobs before rising to stardom like many quintessential self-made celebrities. Finally lady luck smiled at him and rewarded his endeavors generously. The aspiring comedian won Comedy Central’s contest ‘India’s Best Stand-Up Comedian’ in 2012. Soon after this, his popularity rose by leaps and bounds. In 2015, he was requested to write and co-host ‘On Air with AIB’ by noted stand-up comedians Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba. Since then, there’s been no looking back for him. As of today, he has staged numerous stand-up comedy shows in India and abroad.
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Zakir Khan was born on 20 August 1987 in a humble middle-class family in Indore (Madhya Pradesh). His family has a strong lineage of musical and cultural ethos. His father, Ustad Ismail Khan, is a music teacher in St. Raphael School in Indore and his mother, Kulsum Khan, is a housewife. Zakir is very fond of his two brothers, Zeeshan Khan and Arbaaz Khan. Zeeshan is an upcoming singer. In his childhood, Zakir Khan had to change schools frequently because of bullying. He recalled in an interview to ‘Chaipaani’ that his classmates used to bully him due to his not-so-attractive appearance and darkish complexion. Even today, he keeps on reminding himself of his so-called “unattractive” looks to give his own self a push to earn success by virtue of his talent and determination only.
Zakir has great respect for his father for being supportive of him all through his life and especially during his moments of crises. His grandfather Ustad Moinuddin Khan was a Padma Shri awardee and staff artist of AIR (All India Radio), Jaipur. He was a vocalist and an eminent performer of classical musical instruments under the Jaipur Gharana. His father Ismail Khan is another eminent musician. Zakir Khan started receiving his lessons in sitar at the age of seven from his father and grandfather. Later on, he earned a diploma in playing the sitar.
He did his schooling from St. Paul Higher Secondary School, Indore, but did not complete his graduation. Starting from his childhood, he eagerly participated in lots of stage shows and theatrical acts. His hobbies include singing, writing poetry in Urdu and composing songs. His most admired poet is Mirza Ghalib and most cherished actor is Nawazuddin Siddiqi. He personally feels the comedy shows of Kapil Sharma lack the dynamics that modern day stand-up comedy in India demands. Zakir views stand-up comedy as a form of art to address the social, moral, and political dichotomies in India.