Remembering Hindi cinema’s yesteryear actor Kamal Kapoor, on his 97th birth anniversary today.

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His green snake-like eyes and fair skin made him look more like a KGB or Nazi baddie. Prithviraj Kapoor’s cousin, Kamal Kapoor, acted in over 600 films, spanning across three languages. He started off as a hero but with little success. From the Sixties onwards, Kapoor switched to playing a minor villain. His notable work includes Don, Gora aur Kaala, and, of course, Mard, where he played the evil General Dyer.

Born on 22th February 1920 in Lahore, Kamal Kapoor completed his education in Lahore. He started his career in 1944, with Prithvi Raj Kapoor, working in his theatre. Kamal Kapoor’s debut film was the 1946 release, ‘Door Chalein’. This movie, produced under the banner of Durga Pictures was directed by Phani Majumdar and the music composer was K.C.Dey while Kamal Kapoor and Naseem were the leading pair.

Kamal Kapoor played Raj Kapoor’s father in ‘Aag’ (1948) which was also Raj Kapoor’s debut film as producer-director. Later he got numerous offers to play similar roles which he flatly refused to do.

Kamal Kapoor’s career as a villain started with the film “Johar Mehmood In Goa” which was released in 1965. This movie proved to be a big hit thus putting an end to the bad times for Kamal Kapoor. Soon he was flooded with work and was offered to play different characters in films like “Johar In Bombay”, “Johar Mehmood In Hongkong”, “Jab Jab Phool Khile”, “Raja Aur Rank”, “Dastak”, “Pakeezah”, “Paapi”, “Chor Machaye Shor”, “Five Rifles”, “Do Jasoos”, “Deewar”, “Khel Khel Me”, “Mard” and “Toofan”. He once again got a chance to play Raj Kapoor’s father in the 1967 release “Diwana”.

In his career spanned over five decades he acted in over 600 films in Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati languages. He played different kinds of roles from a gangster to the police officer. He played the role of Don’s right-hand man Narang in Don (1978). This blue-eyed actor always had a powerful presence on screen.

Kamal Kapoor died on 2nd August, 2010.

Courtesy- Imprints and Images of Indian Film Music

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