Published On: Thu, Jul 23rd, 2015

Today is the 11th death anniversary of legendary comedian Mehmood.

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11162077_751499051625266_5030577219884544879_nMehmood Ali was the most hilarious of all Bollywood comedians. He danced, he sang and he acted… but no matter what he did, this great comedian ended up making his audience double up in laughter each time, and on some occasions, soon after he had made his appearance in a scene.

In spite of rarely playing the lead role, he was a superstar alright. His name helped producers sell more tickets and his picture on the poster ensured that scores turned up at the theatres. Such was the effect of this young, funny man and his self-effacing easy humour that it is said that some male stars of his time were insecure about sharing screen space with him.

The sixties belonged to this mad, mad man who was so effortless that sometimes it’d seem like he had forgotten that he was in front of the camera. There was a time when his presence in films was imperative for the film to do well at the box office.

He must be one of the few comedians who managed to deliver box-office hits with some films riding solely on his shoulders. A case in point is Do Phool where he played the double role of Chuttan and Phuttan with much aplomb.

Son of actor-dancer Mumtaz Ali, Mehmood acted in more than 300 films including classic hits like “Padosan” (1968), “Bombay to Goa” (1972) and “Kunwaara Baap” (1974) and also directed a few. Born in Mumbai on 29 September 1932, Mehmood started his career with a very poor earning and made entry into Bollywood through car driving. Some actors would hesitate to work with him as he would steal the limelight by his impeccable acting that blended humour with human sensitivity.

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Mehmood’s brand of comedy was unique and endeared him to all age groups. With the creative use of Hyderabadi accent, he made India laugh even as he ensured that the comedy did not become vulgar and indecent.

On 23 July 2004, Mehmood died in his sleep in Pennsylvania, US, where he had gone for treatment of heart disease.

 

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R.D.Burman was given his first big break by Mehmood in the movie ‘Chhote Nawab’ (1961). Mehmood once said that he gave the movie to Burman because he got tired of Burman denting his car with the persistent drumming of his fingers.

Just like Mehmood had given S D Burman’s son his maiden break one decade ago, Mehmood gave Rajesh Roshan, the son of late Roshan, his maiden break in ‘Kunwara Baap’ in 1974. Roshan’s family had fallen on hard times after the untimely death of Roshan in 1967 and this break would have meant a lot to Rajesh Roshan.

 

 

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Rajesh Roshan was very good friends with Shaukat Ali and Anwar Ali both of whom were Mehmood’s brothers. They introduced him to Mehmood, who was launching ‘Kunwara Baap’ that time.. Rajesh composed the song ‘Aa Ri Aaja” of which Mehmood was very much impressed and he signed him on as music director for ‘Kunwara Baap’ .

Mehmood had given breaks to many others like directors S.Ramanathan, S. A. Akbar, music directors Basu-Manohari, singers Vijayta Pandit, Anwar amongst many others. Credit must go to him for making the careers of Amitabh Bachchan, Aruna Irani and Mumtaz.

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

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