Remembering Bollywood’s character actor ‘Sambha’ Mac Mohan on his 79th birth anniversary.

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Born as Mohan Makhijaney in Karachi, Macmohan’s roots as an actor were in the theater. He forayed into the film industry as an assistant to Chetan Anand following which he made his debut in the 1964 film “Haqeeqat”. He acted in nearly 200 films in a career spanning 46 years. The actor, who was mostly a part of the villain’s gang in the films that he worked, played the bad guy despite not having a physique that could look intimidating on screen.

He shot to fame as the gun-toting dacoit Sambha in “Sholay”. He was also part of several blockbusters with Amitabh Bachchan like “Zanjeer”, “Don”, “Majboor”, “Satte Pe Satta”, “Shaan”, “Dostana”, “Khoon Pasina”, “Kaala Patthar”, and “Hera Pheri”.

According to Ramesh Sippy, Sambha’s role immortalized Mac Mohan. “No one could have suited Sambha’s role better than Mac Mohan. He will be always remembered by that role.”

Amjad Khan’s (Gabbar Singh) conversation with Mac Mohan, sitting on a hilltop, are among the most favourite dialogues from the film.

When asked by Gabbar, “Arrey o Sambha, kitna inaam rakhe hain sarkar hum par?” (Hey Sambha, what is the reward on my head?), promptly comes Sambha’s reply, “Poorey pachaas hazaar (altogether Rs 50,000)”.

That tiny bit of dialogue “Poore Pachaas Hazaar” shot Mac Mohan to fame and made him immortal. So famous was Sambha, that even an immigration officer in New York recognized him as Gabbar Singh’s sidekick.

Mac Mohan passed away in March 2010 due to lung cancer, but till this day, if anyone talks about Sholay, the first words that come to mind are, “Arre o Sambha!”

(Image: Mac Mohan presenting a Vishesh Jaimala program at Vividh Bharati studio)

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