Kher was born on 7 March 1955 in Shimla, in a Kashmiri Pandit family. His father was a clerk and he had a modest upbringing. He received education at D.A.V. School in Shimla. In his struggling days as an actor in Mumbai, he slept on railway platforms. He is an alumnus and a former chairperson of the National School of Drama. Some of his early roles were in plays performed at the Himachal Pradesh University.
Kher made his acting debut in the 1982 Hindi movie Aagman. Then in 1984 came Saaransh, where 28-year-old Kher played a retired Template:Middle-class Maharashtrian man who has lost his son. He hosted TV shows such as Say Na Something To Anupam Uncle, Sawaal Dus Crore Ka, Lead India and the recent The Anupam Kher Show - Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, which has become a big hit on its 1st episode when Shah Rukh Khan was invited as his guest. He has had many comic roles but has also played the villain such as his acclaimed role as the terrorist Dr. Dang in Karma (1986). For his role in Daddy (1989) he received the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance.
He has starred alongside Hindi Cinema's superstar Shahrukh Khan many times in films such as Darr (1993), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Chaahat (1996), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Mohabbatein (2000), Veer-Zaara (2004) and Happy New Year.
He ventured into directing with Om Jai Jagadish (2002) and has been a producer. He produced and starred in the film Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005). He received the Best Actor Award from the Karachi International Film Festival for his performance. The role of the Police Commissioner Rathor, played by him in critically and commercially acclaimed A Wednesday is also very much appreciated.
Kher is known internationally for Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Bride and Prejudice (2004), Speedy Singhs (2011), his appearance on the hit TV show ER, and more recently in The Mistress of Spices (2006) and Lust, Caution (2007). In 2012 he co-starred in the Academy Award-winning Silver Linings Playbook.
Kher has written and starred in a play about his own life called Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, which was directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.
Until recently he served as chairman of the Indian Film Censor Board. He is an alumnus of National School of Drama (1978 batch) and was its director between 2001 and 2004.
In 2007, Anupam Kher, with his batchmate of NSD, Satish Kaushik, started a film production company, Karol Bagh Productions. Their first film, Tere Sang, was directed by Satish Kaushik.
He was appointed in 2010 as the goodwill ambassador of the Pratham Education Foundation, which strives to improve children's education in India.
In 2011, he starred alongside Mohanlal and Jayaprada in the Malayalam language romantic drama Pranayam. Kher chose Pranayam as one of the seven best films of his career.
He also starred in a number of Marathi films such as Thoda Tuza...Thoda Maza, Kashala Udyachi Baat and Punjabi films such as Yaaraan naal bahaaraan.
He is also an occasional talk show participant.
In 2009, Kher voiced Carl Fredricksen in the Hindi-dubbed version of the Disney-Pixar animated film Up, which was his voice role.
Anupam Kher has currently appeared in The Dirty Politics. The movie also features Om Puri and Jackie Shroff.
In 2014, Kher starred in the British film Shongram, a fictional romantic drama based around the factual and historical events of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
In 2016, Anupam Kher narrated in the ABP News documentary TV series Bharatvarsh, which showcases the journey from ancient India to the 19th century.
In late 2016, Anupam Kher made his first fiction production named Khwaabon Ki Zamin Par airing on Zindagi.
Anupam Kher is married to actress Kirron Kher (since 1985). Her son, his stepson, is actor Sikandar Kher.
While speaking (During March 2016) in Kolkata at the Telegraph National Debate on Intolerance, he mentioned that Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi should be thrown out of BJP and jailed.Civilian award2004: Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contribution to Indian cinema2016: Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his contribution to the arts National Film Awards1989: National Film Award – Special Jury Award: Daddy2005: National Film Award – Special Jury Award: Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin MaraFilmfare Awards1984: Best Actor, Saaransh1988: Best Supporting Actor, Vijay1989: Best Comedian, Ram Lakhan1990: Critics Award for Best Performance, Daddy1991: Best Comedian, Lamhe1992: Best Comedian, Khel1993: Best Comedian, Darr1995: Best Comedian, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge1986: Nominated: Best Supporting Actor, Janam1991: Nominated: Best Supporting Actor, Dil1992: Nominated: Best Supporting Actor, Saudagar1994: Nominated: Best Supporting Actor, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!1997: Nominated: Best Supporting Actor, Chaahat2013: Nominated: Best Supporting Actor, Special 26Screen Awards1994: Best Supporting Actor for 1942: A Love Story1999: Best Comedian for Haseena Maan JayegiHindi Movie Awards1999 : Best Supporting Actor for Salaakhen2007 : Best Comedian for Khosla Ka GhoslaOther awards2000: Actor of the Decade Award (Millennium Honours)2000: Best Actor in a Comic Role at the Sansui Viewers Choice Awards2001: Real Life Hero Award at the Zee Gold Hindi Cinema Awards2005: "Divya Himachal Award" for excellence 2005, with the blessings of H.H. Dalai Lama2005: Best Actor Award from the Karachi International Film Festival for Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara2006: Best Actor Award at the Riverside International Film Festival at California for Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara2006: GIFA awards: Critics Choice Awards – Best Actor in a Comic Role for Khosla Ka Ghosla2013: Outstanding Achievement in Cinema award at The Asian Awards.2015: Kalakar Award for The ACTOR Of The Year in KolkataRecognitionHe was honoured by Walk of the Stars as his hand print was preserved for posterity at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai.He was presented with the “Honoured Guest” award by the US state of Texas for his contribution to cinema and art.
Anupam Kher's production house also made some television shows, notable among them Imtihaan (1994).
(Partial filmography, in Hindi language unless noted)