Iron(II) complexes of polypyridyl ligands (B), viz. [Fe(B)2]Cl2 (1 and 2) of N, N, N-donor 2-(2-pyridyl)-1,10-phenanthroline (pyphen in 1) and 3-(pyridin-2-yl)dipyrido[3,2-a:2’,3’-c]phenazine (pydppz in 2), are prepared and characterized. They are 1:2 electrolytes in aqueous DMF. The diamagnetic complexes exhibit metal to ligand charge transfer band near 570 nm in DMF. The complexes are avid binders to calf thymus DNA giving binding constant (𝐾b) values of ∼106 M−1 suggesting significant intercalative DNA binding of the complexes due to presence of planar phenanthroline bases. Complex 2 exhibits significant photocytotoxicity in immortalized human keratinocyte cells HaCaT and breast cancer cell line MCF-7 giving IC50 values of 0.08 and 13 𝜇M in visible light (400–700 nm). Complex 2 shows only minor dark toxicity in HaCaT cells but is non-toxic in dark in MCF-7 cancer cells. The light-induced cellular damage follows apoptotic pathway on generation of reactive oxygen species as evidenced from the dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) assay.