44 years after Sholay and the character of Gabbar Singh still outlives Amjad Khan. Let’s look at the flourishing journey of this superstar, who continues to inspire Bollywood villains to this day
The astonishing Amjad Khan, who is popularly known as Gabbar Singh was born on 12th November 1940 in Peshawar to the legendary actor Jayant in a Pashtun family.
The divine actor completed his schooling from St. Andrew's High School, Bandra and later on attended R D National College, as a general secretary, where he was appointed as the highest elected student body president.
The talented actor made his childhood debut in the movie Nazneen (1951), and later on, at the tender age of 17 acted in the film Ab Dilli Dur Nahin (1957), he loved acting since the beginning and appeared in minor roles in his father’s films quite a few times.
He made his dynamic debut as an adult in the film Hindustan Ki Kasam. Things changed when he got to play the character that changed his life, which was as a decoit ‘Gabbar’ in Ramesh Sippy’s film Sholay, a blockbuster, which was offered to him by the living legend Salim Khan, who was one of the writers of the film.
For acing the role of Gabbar, Amjad read Abhishapth Chambal, a book about Chambal dacoits, by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri. Though he acted as a villain and several other characters too, he is mostly remembered for the character of Gabbar. The audience never saw such a dreadful, fearsome and a cruel character of any robber before. He was loved by the audience immensely and is still remembered as a legendary actor, whose legacy is a gift to Indian Cinema.
His acting, dialogues, and mannerism left a lasting impact on the audience. The audience got mesmerized by his intimidating personality and that’s one of the reasons why his character Gabbar was one of the reasons why this movie was such a blockbuster. In fact, there are films named after Gabbar, a Bollywood film, Gabbar is Back and a South Indian film, Gabbar Gang!
After Sholay, Khan continued playing negative characters and acing them with his terrific personality. His role in Inkaar was also presented in an astonishing manner. He made his strong presence felt in the Indian film Industry with his critically acclaimed films Des Pardes, Nastik, Satte Pe Satta, Chambal Ki Kasam, Ganga Ki Saugandh, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin and Naseeb.
Not only negative, but he also won the audience by acing the positive roles in Yaarana (1981), Laawaris (1981), an art film Utsav (1984). In 1988, he also appeared in the Merchant-Ivory English film, The Perfect Murder as an underworld don, for which he received several accolades as well! His comical performances in Qurbani and Chameli KI Shaadi are evergreen.
The wonderful Amjad was also a president of the Actors guild Association, where he would solve disputes between actors, directors, and producers. Khan took a keen interest in directing films and started his career as a director with Chor Police (1983) and the blockbuster film of the 80s, Ameer Aadmi Gareeb Aadmi (1985).
In 1972, he got married to Shehla Khan, who lived in the same neighborhood and became wonderful parents to two sons, Shadaab Khan: an actor himself, Seemaab Khan and a beautiful daughter Ahlam Khan who is married to popular theatre actor Zafar Karachiwala.
While he was on the way to shoot for the film The Great Gambler, starring Amitabh Bachchan, he met with an accident which left him with broken ribs and a punctured lung and due to some serious surgeries, he almost went into a coma. The drug which was administered during his operation caused him to gain a lot of weight and he passed away in 1992 due to heart failure at the age of 51.