Remembering Bollywood’s yesteryear comedian Mohammed Umar Mukri, on his 17th death anniversary today.
Mukri was one of the successful comedians of Hindi cinema during 50’s and 60’s. Mukri with his toothless smile, diminutive stature and perfect timing entertained audiences in over 600 films, over six decades, in Hindi cinema.
At a time when comedy was the king, Mohammed Mukri walked tall with the likes of Mehmood, Johnny Walker and Agha.
There was hardly any side character he didn’t play-from a friend of the hero to the comic sidekick of the villain and from the father of the bride to the bride herself (himself), Mukri performed these roles with great elan. Even a song was dedicated to the character of Taiyab Ali he played in Amar,Akbar,Anthony. Nathulal is another character etched in the minds of cine buffs, which Mukri played with gusto in Sharabi. Amitabh Bachchan’s dialogue-Moonche ho to nathulal jaisi ho, varna na ho-lent it immortality. Mukri also brushed shoulders with other great heroes of his times in the 600-odd films he worked in during a career spanning more than 60 years — be it Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar or Nargis, Meena Kumari and Mudhubala.
The little comedian made his debut with Dilip Kumar in Jairaj’s Pratima produced by Bombay Talkies. He had been working with the studio as an assistant director. Devika Rani who was the studio head then liked his smile and offered him a role in the film. In the 50 years Mohamed Umer Mukri has worked in over 600 films including Aan, Amar, Padosan,Kohinoor, Chori Chori, Mother India, Ram Aur Shayam and Amar Akbar Antony to name a few. His last film was Vivek Vaswani’s Sar Aankhon Par.
Mukri, the actor who tickled many a funny bone with his inimitable acting style and flair for comedy, died in Mumbai on September 4, 2000 following cardiac arrest.