Bollywood veterans remember their friend and colleague who passed away at the age of 81.
Veteran actor Kader Khan passed away on Monday evening in Canada after fighting Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative disease, for many years. He was 81. His last rites will be performed in Canada.
Khan was not only an outstanding actor but also a prolific writer, having written dialogues for a number of films and screenplays for more than 40 years and was associated with many of Amitabh Bachchan's and Govinda's biggest hits. Veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha who had worked with him in a number of films believes that it is impossible to replace someone as iconic as him. “He has given so much to our entertainment industry and was one of the pillars of Bollywood. He was not just an excellent actor who fitted into any role but was also an outstanding writer. Both Amitabh [Bachchan] and I were very closely associated with him. I knew him from the time he wrote Manmohan Desai's Naseeb and Prakash Mehra's Jwalamukhi, both of which I starred in. Whenever I met him, he regaled me with his intellectual mind and deep study of commercial Indian cinema,” he said.
Amitabh Bachchan, who shared screen space with Khan in blockbusters such as Do Aur Do Paanch, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Mr. Natwarlal, Suhaag, Coolie and Shahenshah among others, took to Twitter to remember this legend, “It's now being confirmed by his son as per media that he has passed away. Condolences and prayers. A most talented actor-writer and delightful company. He wrote some exceptional films for me and worked in several of the most successful ones. Many may not know but he taught mathematics in his spare time. I would often see him solving mathematical problems in between shots. An irreparable loss.”
Hailing from a Pashtun family in Kabul, Khan started his career as a teacher at a Mumbai college before making his cinematic debut as a writer with Jawani Diwani (1972). He would then go on to write scripts for Manmohan Desai's films such as Coolie, Suhaag, Parvarish and Amar Akbar Anthony and star in more than 300 films.
Raveena Tandon who has co-starred with the legendary actor in several films such as Dulhe Raja, Aatish, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan remembers, “I was always bowled over by his comic timing on screen and his erudition between takes. He was a scholar and an entertainer, a rare combination in the entertainment industry.” Raveena played his daughter in several films and emotionally adds that it was disheartening to wake up to such sad news. “Kader Khan was such a rare talent and whatever parts he played, he would add a different charm to it. Someone who can portray a comedian and a villain at same time with such ease is rare.”
Pahlaj Nihalani who has also worked closely with Khan says, “I don't know of any talent in Bollywood who was as in-demand as Kader Saab. He used to write and act in five-six films at the same time from 1970 to 90s. He was so busy that he would dole out dates in hours. For my film Aankhen, I wanted him in a double role. He pleaded off. But I insisted and told him to just give me four hours for one day and then I'd manage. My trick was to get him on board. In fact, I wanted him for the role that went to Anupam Kher in Shola Aur Shabnam. But he just didn't have time.”
As a human being and a professional, Nihalani rates Kadersaab next to none, “I've rarely seen anyone in the film industry who was as helpful, supportive and committed as Kaderbhai. He was never just an actor or a writer in a project. He jumped into it the whole hog. A part of the success of Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda must go to Kaderbhai for his writing. He used to drop in at my restaurant Nagina on Grant Road if he was shooting in that locality. Meeting him was always like running into an embodiment of the Hindi film industry. He could do anything, and he did everything. It's a pity his health began to fail in the last ten years. Kaderbhai had so much more to give,” he concludes.
Anil Kapoor: Deeply saddened by the news of Kader Khan’s demise. I had the chance of working with him & it was an inspiring experience. He will always remain in our hearts & a forever shining star in the sky. Sending my thoughts, love & prayers to the family
Akshay Kumar: Saddened to learn about the demise of #KaderKhan Saab, had the good fortune of working with him in quite a few films...a fine actor and an even better comedian. My thoughts and prayers with his family
Anupam Kher: KaderKhan Saab was one of the finest actors of our country. It was a joy and a learning experience to be on the sets with him. His improvisational skills were phenomenal. His humour was eternal and original. He was a wonderful writer. We will miss him & his brilliance.