Remembering the beloved star Amjad Khan on his 78th birth anniversary today.

Born to actor Zakaria Khan, better known by his screen name Jayant, Amjad Khan inherited a love for his father’s profession early on, resulting in active pursuit of theatre. Making his debut on stage at the age of 11, he continued to act in one form or the other. It was only when Salim Khan, one part of the writer duo of Sholay, suggested his name to Ramesh Sippy that he was even considered for the ‘grand’ debut.

.Amjad Khan’s entire career only lasted about 15 odd years — since 1975 (Sholay) to his death in 1992. By the time he had died he had become much more than a successful villain. He could ease into comedy withDes Pardes (1978) Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986), Malamaal (1988) or be a class supporting act in Utsav (1984),Qurbani (1980), Yaarana (1981) or even a brilliant presence in films like Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977), where his emasculated Wajid Ali Shah was the perfect antithesis to Gabbar Singh, or films like The Perfect Murder (1988), Rudaali to name a few. At the same time, Khan also managed to pack in the standard villain with Inkaar (1977), Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Kaalia (1981), Mr. Natwarlal (1979) and Bombay 405 Miles (1980).

It is unfortunate that in spite of being one of the biggest actor-star of the 1970s and the 1980s, Amjad Khan continues to remain underrated.

For a man who broke through on the silver screen with the ferocious Gabbar Singh, Amjad Khan was a gentleman. He was a humane person, universally liked, who always did his best to help any struggling actor in Bollywood’s ruthless jungle.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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