About Amjad Khan

Amjad Khan (12 November 1940 – 27 July 1992) was an acclaimed Indian actor and director He worked in over 130 films in his film career spanning nearly twenty years. He enjoyed iconic popularity for his villain roles in Hindi language films — he is most famous for playing the role of the dacoit Gabbar Singh in Sholay (1975).

Amjad Khan was born in Hyderabad in 1940 to legendary actor Jayant. He was the brother of fellow actor Imtiaz Khan.Around 1972, he married Sheila Khan, and the following year, she gave birth to their first child, Shadaab Khan, who acted in a few films only. He also had a daughter Ahlam Khan and son Seemaab Khan.

Before Amjad came to films he was a theatre actor. His first film was as a child artist at the age of 17 in the film "Ab Dilli Dur Nahin" (1957),a narrative of the socio-political post- Independence India of great substance.A journey that began from here reached its zenith in Sholay in (1976).Though Khan was to be launched as a hero in his home production, 'Patthar Ke Sanam', in 1965, the film did not proceed beyond its inception. He had assisted K. Asif in the film "Love and God" in the late 1960s and had also made a brief appearance in the film which would have been his official adult film debut. But the film was left incomplete after K. Asif's death in 1971 and it ended up releasing in 1986.

His first major break was "Hindustan Ki Kasam" (1973). The film was made on the theme of Indo-Pak war of 1971.

But the role that immmortalised him forever was that of Gabbar Singh of "Sholay".Sholay happened in 1975 and catapulted him to the status of a star.In 1975 he was offered the role of a dacoit Gabbar Singh for the film "Sholay" by Salim who was one of the film's writers. For his preparation for the role Amjad read "Abhishapth Chambal", a book on Chambal dacoits written by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri (actress Jaya Bhaduri's father). Amjad shot to stardom with the movie. His portrayal of Gabbar Singh is considered by many to be the first depiction of pure evil on the screen in Indian Cinema; a totally evil character who doesn't make excuses for its evil.

"Arre O' Samba, Kitne Aadmi The"— thus goes the most popular line of Bollywood ever mouthed. Generations of children that have grown ever since  "Sholay" (1976) was made, have imbibed this and other dialogues of the GP Sippy classic as staple learning. A large chunk of credit for popularisation of "Sholay" goes to Amjad Khan Alias  Gabbar Singh. So powerful was the screen impact of Amjad that the character of Gabbar Singh has become synonymous with vice—the epitome of a genre of evil characterised by rustic looks, hoarse voice, and cold-blooded demeanour.

The movie "Sholay" is one of the all time blockbuster movies in India and one of the highest earners, and although the movie had a cast of superstars including Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra the most memorable character was considered to be that of Gabbar Singh. Amjad Khan later appeared in advertisements as Gabbar Singh endorsing Brittania biscuits, and it was the first incidence of a villain being used to sell a popular product.

After the success of "Sholay" Amjad Khan continued to play villain roles in many subsequent Hindi films in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s — superseding, in terms of popularity and demand, the earlier Indian actor, Ajit — portraying more sophisticated and urbane criminal bosses, mastermind of bank robberies, murders and conspiracies to seize power.

Due to the Sholay impact; he got the opportunity to act opposite Amitabh Bachchan in many movies in the heydays of the latter."Parvarish", "Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin", "Aakhri Goli", are some of his movies of 1977. Similarly, in 1978 came such big successes as "Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan", "Muqadar Ka Sikander", "Kasme Vaade", "Heeralal Pannalal","Khoon Ki Pukaar", etc. 

In 1979, Amjad Khan played, Vikram, a notorious smuggler that drives Amitabh Bachchan (Natwarlal) to unscrupulous ways. "Hum Tere Aashique Hain","Chambal Ki Kasam", "Suhaag","Bombay 405 Miles","Kaatil", "Kalia"," Teesri Aankh", the list is very long. To sum it up there was hardly a block-buster in the late seventies and early eighties that didn't have Amjad Khan as the chief negative protagonist. He often acted as villain opposite Amitabh Bachchan as the hero.

Khan was also acclaimed for playing many other unconventional roles. In the critically acclaimed film "Shatranj Ke Khiladi" (1977), directed by Satyajit Ray, Khan played the helpless and deluded monarch Wajid Ali Shah, whose kingdom, Avadh, is being targeted by British colonialists from the British East India Company.

 He played  positive role opposite Amitabh Bachchan in "Yaarana" (1981) where he played Bachchan's character's best friend and also in "Laawaris" where he played Bachhan's father. In the art film "Utsav" (1984), he portrayed Vatsayana, the author of the Kama Sutra.

In 1988 he appeared in the Merchant-Ivory English film "The Perfect Murder" as an underworld don. He also played comic characters in films such as "Qurbani"(1980) and "Chameli Ki Shaadi" (1986). In 1991, he again played Gabbar Singh in "Ramgarh Ke Sholay", a parody of the legendary film which also included a look-alike of Amitabh Bachchan and Dev Anand.

He also ventured into directing for a brief period in the 1980s directing and also starring in "Chor Police"(1983) and "Ameer Aadmi Gareeb Aadmi" (1985) but both films failed to do well at the box office.

Khan was also the recipient of the prestigious National Awards on numerous occasions, including for portraying Wajid Ali Shah.Besides other recognitions, Amjad Khan was conferred the  Filmfare Award on numerous occasions for the best villain.

In 1976, he had met with a near fatal accident on the Bombay-Goa road, when he drove his car to a tree while trying to avoid a boulder. The drugs administered to him for treatment caused a serious weight problem for the rest of his life. As a result of his increasing weight he died in 1992 after suffering from a heart failure at the age of 51.

Several of the films like "In Custody" (1993) and "Do Fantoosh" (1994) that he had completed when he was alive were released after his death - right until 1996.

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