Remembering Hindi Cinema’s most endearing grand old man Avtar Kishan Hangal, on his 105th birth anniversary today.

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Remembering Hindi Cinema’s most endearing grand old man Avtar Kishan Hangal, on his 105th birth anniversary today.

Known for his uninhibited and totally natural acting, AK Hangal was a highly acclaimed character actor in Hindi cinema. He spent long years honing his craft on the stage of IPTA (Indian Progressive Theatre Artistes Association), but could never make the transition to films. He finally got his break as Raj Kapoor’s older brother in Teesri Kasam, at the grand old age of 50. He went on to play the poor father or uncle in most of his 225 films. With tragedy written all over his face, one could never imagine AK Hangal in any other role save that of the oppressed. However, the late actor played a few antagonising characters too in films like Manzil (1979), Prem Bandhan (1979) and Kali Ghata (1980).

The roles in Namak Haraam, Sholay, Manzil, Anadhi, Aaina, Avtaar and Shaukeen shot him to the cult status but he is best remembered for his performance of Rahim Chacha — a blind old man in Sholay. His dialogue in Sholay -“Itna sanaata kyun hai bhai” (Why is there so much silence) — caught on like wild fire so much so that it found its way to the common parlance.

Hangal has left an indelible mark on the Indian cinema through his offbeat performance and charismatic personality and would be ever remembered by one and all for his unique performance in Hindi films.

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