So who is this person?? A faint resemblance to Gurudutt perhaps, but still not sure aren't you? A distinguished thespian and filmactor, an exemplary playwright, a notable singer, a patriotic freedom fighter, an excellent tailor, an eminent activist and the list goes on... Ladies n gentlemen please put your hands together for Mr. Avtar Kishore Hangal.
On Monday the President honored Mr Hangal with the Padma Bhushan, for distinguished service of high order in the field of Arts.
Funny how no one, to whom I showed this pic to earlier, could tell me who the person was. Somehow we have always seen him in the role of an aged person. Sometimes as the teacher Master Dinanath, or as the humble domestic help Ramu Kaka, or the wise old man of the village or something similar. The very thought that this man was once young seems kinda alien.
Born in Sialkot in a family of Kashmiri pandits, Mr Hangal's family soon moved to Peshawar where he was introduced to theatre by his father. His theatrical pursuits led him to join the Shri Sangeet Priya Mandal where he perfomred some of his earliest plays. Apart from theatre he also did plays and songs on Radio. To support his family he took up tailoring and soon became the highest paid cutter in Peshawar. The leisure time was devoted to music n theatre. After Partition he came to India. He started his film career with Guddi. It was Hrishikesh Mukherjee who was responsible for "dragging him into films" as Mr Hangal himself puts it. After that there was no looking back.
Many memorable roles in more than 200 films like Namak Haram, Kora Kagaz, Aandhi, Sholay, Chitchor, Choti Si Baat, Naram Garam, Saath Saath, Bawarchi, Shaukeen and he still continies to amaze us with appearances in films like Lagaan and Paheli.
I remember watching him on the TV in which he narrated a very humourous incident. He was in the hospital under treatment and had called for a barber for a shave. While talking to the barber he incidently asked him about A K Hangal and the barber said something like "He died way back".
Hangal Sahab, to your good health and many more memorable roles.
http://www.mumbaitheatreguide.com/dramas/features/ak_hangal.pdf (Must See!!)