Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan is to make his first appearance at the Belfast Film Festival.

The award-winning director, critically acclaimed actor, producer and television presenter will make his first ever visit to Ireland to attend the festival. 

Aamir Khan’s prolific career covers over thirty years in film and his popularity reaches across India, China and the West; he has a staggering 24 million twitter followers. 

His work combines some of the most widely seen entertainment cinema in film history – comedies such as 3 Idiots (2009),  PK (2014) and the Oscar nominated epic Lagaan (2001).

Satyamev Jayate, the TV show that he created and presents, was seen in 165 countries by a billion people.  It addressed subjects like honour killings, domestic violence, political corruption. Known for his far-reaching humanitarian work, he brings attention to critical world problems affecting children, the environment, human rights, poverty, slavery, people trafficking and many other issues. 

During the 19th Belfast Film Festival, Aamir Khan will participate in an ‘In Conversation’ event in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast. 

This event on Tuesday 16 April will celebrate Khan’s body of film work and pay tribute to his humanitarian activities. 

The evening will be hosted by Nasreen Munni Kabir, author of 17 books on Hindi cinema. Nasreen has made over 80 TV programmes on Indian film for Channel 4 and continues to curate C4’s annual Indian film season. 

Mark Cousins, Chair of the Belfast Film Festival said, "Many of us fell in love with film because of big-hearted movies like ‘It's a Wonderful Life’ and Tom Hanks' ‘Big’. That's the sort of film that Aamir Khan makes. His epic entertainments have the spirit of Frank Capra movies; he draws on the best of Hindi film. 

"He uses his stardom as boldly as Jane Fonda. We are honoured that he will come to the Belfast Film Festival. If you haven't seen Aamir Khan’s films, treat yourself! A special thank you to Nasreen Munni Kabir, one of the most admired people in Indian film." 

Michele Devlin, Director of the Belfast Film Festival said: “The Belfast Film Festival’s tribute to Aamir Khan is the start of a bold new five-year exploration of cultural diversity in film, which will include Chinese, Polish and many other cultures. 

"As part of this work we are delighted to announce a new collaboration with the New York Indian Film Festival. Indian cinema – its stardom, storytelling, history, themes and popularity is a great starting point for this project, and hosting the wonderful Aamir Khan is a perfect beginning.” 

Speaking ahead of the festival, Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland said: “Belfast Film Festival brings the very best in world cinema to Northern Ireland and acts an important platform for local writers, filmmakers, and the arts community.

"British Council Northern Ireland is working with local partners to further develop links with India in film and the wider arts, so we are honoured to support a programme which brings one of the most popular and influential actors and directors of Indian cinema to Northern Ireland.” 

Nisha Tandon OBE, Founder and Director of ArtsEkta, the city’s leading ethnic arts group and proud promoters of Indian arts and culture added,“What a prestigious moment for us to welcome renowned director and actor Aamir Khan to our city.

"Our community has played an important role in the cultural, social and economic life of Belfast over the last four decades and feels very proud to welcome Aamir who is a pioneering figure in Indian cinema.

"Our city is rich in Indian arts and tradition, we hope that Aamir will be as inspired by his visit to Belfast as we are and look forward to giving him a famous Northern Irish welcome.” 

Tickets can be purchased here from Thursday 28 February at 10am.

The full programme will launch on Wednesday 13 March.