For those who grew up watching Bollywood films during the eighties and nineties, it was impossible to miss the multifaceted actor that was Kader Khan.
Renowned for penning epic dialogues and punch lines that went on to make superstars out of Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra and Feroz Khan, he has also given us several unforgettable comic performances alongside Govinda that have made us laugh till our stomachs hurt.
Sadly, the veteran actor is no more. In the evening of December 31, Kader Khan passed away in a hospital in Canada after a prolonged illness.
As famous as he was for his scriptwriting talent and acting prowess, very few know about the slew of struggles he had faced before making it big in Bollywood.
Born to an Afghani father and Pakistani mother in Kabul, Khan had three brothers, who passed away before they turned eight. Following this, the family migrated to Mumbai and found a refuge in the slums of Kamathipura.
But Khan’s struggles were far from over. His parents separated, his mother was forced to remarry, and their lives were shrouded in chronic poverty to the extent that they had slept many nights on an empty stomach.
In a bid to bring home some income and make their lives better, a young Khan decided to quit school and work at a local mill like every other slum child. However, on the first day of joining work, he was stopped by none other than his mother, whose words would go on to change his life forever.
If you become a daily labourer today, your Rs 3 per day will remain the same forever. But remember, if you want to get rid of this poverty, you must educate yourself first.
Her words motivated Khan so much that he worked extremely hard and passed out of school with flying colours.
Probably one of the most educated actors in Bollywood, Khan had a master’s degree in civil engineering and had even taught at the MH Saboo Siddik College of Engineering in Byculla for five years.
Interestingly, his stint with writing screenplays and dialogues had started during his undergraduate days, and his plays began making waves and winning awards. So much so that none other than Dileep Kumar attended the screening of his play, ‘Taash Ke Patte.’ The seasoned actor was so impressed by Khan that he immediately signed him up for two of his movies.
And thus began Khan’s illustrious writing journey in Bollywood. He would go on to give us iconic dialogues in films like Mr Natwarlal, Do Aur Do Paanch, Satte pe Satta, Amar Akbar Anthony, and Agneepath, to mention a few.
His foray into acting began with the Rajesh Khanna-starrer, Daag, in 1973, and rest, as you know, is history.
In a career spanning over four decades, Khan had aced villainous as well as comic roles, acted in over 300 films in Hindi and Urdu and had penned dialogues for over 250 films.
Khan was reportedly suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative disease.
With his passing, he has left behind an irreplaceable abyss in Bollywood. We remember the versatile artist, who proved that when one has the will, there will always be a way.
Rest in peace, sir.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)