Kader Khan: Multitalented ‘Comedy Actor’ worked in 300 films.

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By Mohammad Shameem Khan

Kader Khan was a legendary script and dialogue writer, actor, comedian, and film director who has given significant contributions to the Hindi film industry. Kadar Khan’s life and career were marked by his versatile talents, impeccable comic timing, and his ability to write engaging scripts for numerous Bollywood films.

Kader Khan
Picture: Social Media

Noted actor Kader Khan was born on 22 October 1937 in Kabul Afghanistan. His father was Abdul Rahman Khan from Kandhar, Afghanistan while his mother was Iqbal Begum from Baluchistan. He had three brothers, Shams-ur-Rahman, Fazal Rahman and Habib-ur-Rehman. Kader belonged to ethnic Pashtun of the Kakar tribe. Kader was raised in the Kamathipura neighborhood of Mumbai after his family moved there from Kabul. He went to local municipal school and later to Ismail Yusuf College after which he graduated in Civil engineering. Before entering the field of cinema he taught at M.H. Saboo Siddik College of Engineering in Byculla as a professor of civil engineering.

During his teaching days he used to write plays. He was noted by comedian Agha who saw his play named Taash Ke Pattey, he was impressed by his writing and acting skill. He then suggested Dilip Kumar who was looking for a script writer for his films. He saw his play and offered him his films Sagina and Bairag. During an interview Kader Khan recalled this as the incident that started his film career. He further said that the film Jawani Diwani was his first film as a script writer. Khan co-writes this film with Raj Anand and received 1500 rupees as remuneration.

Kader Khan
Picture: Social Media

Kader Khan’s career in Hindi cinema

Kader Khan acted in over 300 films in Hindi and Urdu and wrote dialogue for more than 250 films, from the 1970s up to the turn of the 21st century.  India’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna was producing a film Roti, he insisted film’s Manmohan Desai paid him the high amount of one lakh twenty-one thousand (121,000) for writing dialogue for the film.

Kader Khan’s first film as an ‘Actor’

Kadar Khan made his acting debut in the 1970 film “Daag” and continued to appear in supporting roles in several films. He often played the role of the friend or the father, and his versatility allowed him to excel in both comic and serious roles. He subsequently worked as supporting artist with roles in Dil Diwana, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Mr. Natwarlal.

He proved his skill as an actor and started getting lengthy roles as supporting actor with films like Masterji, Dharm Adhikari, Nasihat, Dosti Dushmani, Ghar Sansar, Loha, Insaniyat Ke Dushman, Insaf Ki Pukar, Khudgarz, Sherni, Khoon Bhari Maang, Sone Pe Suhaaga and Vardi. He wrote films for himself in the main lead, like Karz Chukana Hai, Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharnii, Biwi Ho To Aisi, Ghar Ho To Aisa, Hum Hain Kamaal Ke and Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri.

Notable Films

Some of his notable films as an actor include “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar,” “Naseeb,” “Coolie,” “Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri,” and “Dulhe Raja.” He was known for his impeccable comic timing and dialogue delivery, which made him a beloved figure in the industry.

Kader Khan with Govinda
Picture: Social Media

He first tried his hands in comedy with the film Himmatwala and Aaj Ka Daur. He started doing chief comedy roles from 1989 onwards, with films like Kishen Kanhaiya, Hum, Ghar Parivar, Bol Radha Bol and continued through the nineties with comedy roles in Aankhen, Taqdeerwala, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Dulhe Raja, Coolie No. 1, Saajan Chale Sasural, Sooryavansham, Judaai, Aunty No. 1, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Raja Babu, Khuddar, Chhote Sarkar, Gharwali Baharwali, Hero Hindustani, Anari No. 1 and Sirf Tum.

In early 2000s, he attempted versatile roles with films like Akhiyon Se Goli Maare, Chalo Ishq Ladaaye, Suno Sasurjee, Yeh Hai Jalwa and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. His notable work as a comedian was Himmatwala, Aankhen and Coolie No. 1.

Kader’s Work with Legendary Actors

He worked with popular actor of his time Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Jeetendra, Feroz Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Anil Kapoor, Govinda and film directors like T. Rama Rao, K. Raghavendra Rao, K. Bapaiah, Narayana Rao Dasari, David Dhawan. He worked with other comedians like Asrani, Shakti Kapoor and Johnny Lever.  He has also worked with Amrish Puri, Prem Chopra, Amjad Khan and Anupam Kher in many films. He has played a large variety of parts in different genres of films like comedy, action, romance, family, social and political.

Kadar Khan was not only a talented actor but also an exceptional scriptwriter. He wrote scripts and dialogues for numerous successful films, contributing significantly to their success. He collaborated with legendary actors and filmmakers like Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, David Dhawan, and Manmohan Desai. His contribution as a writer in the comedy genre was especially remarkable.

Kader Khan
Picture: Social Media

Rajesh Khanna who gave him the break as a dialogue writer in his film Roti and thereafter he wrote dialogues for films with Rajesh Khanna in the lead like Maha Chor, Chhailla Babu, Dharam Kanta, Fiffty Fiffty, Naya Kadam, Masterji, and Nasihat, all of which were box office hit at the box office. Other successful films for which he has written or assisted in dialogues include films starring Jeetendra like Himmatwala, Jaani Dost, Sarfarosh, Justice Chaudhury, Farz Aur Kanoon, Jeeo Aur Jeene Do, Tohfa, Qaidi and Haisiyat.

Kader’s work with Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai

 As a screenwriter, Kader Khan has worked with Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai for their films starring Amitabh Bachchan. Besides Amitabh, he was the only one who had worked in the rival camps of Mehra and Desai. His films with Manmohan Desai include Dharam Veer, Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati, Coolie, Desh Premee, Suhaag, Parvarish and Amar Akbar Anthony and films with Prakash Mehra include Jwalamukhi, Sharaabi, Lawaaris and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.

Kader and Amitabh Bachchan’s collaboration

Kader Khan with Amitabh Bachchan Picture: Social Media

 Some of Amitabh Bachchan’s films with popular dialogues and script were written by Kader Khan. Some notable examples of these movies are Mr. Natwarlal, Khoon Pasina, Do Aur Do Paanch, Satte Pe Satta, Inquilab, Giraftaar, Hum and Agneepath. For the film Agneepath for Bachchan, he received the National Film Awards.

Kader Khan was South Indian’s filmmakers favorite dialogue writer

Kader was a personal favorite of the South Indian production houses such as Padmalaya. Major filmmakers from South India such as Narayana Rao Dasari, K. Bapayya, K. Raghavendra Rao, T. Rama Rao, Dasari Narayan Rao, D. Rama Naidu consulted Khan for doing the script and dialogue of the Hindi remakes of their southern language films. Some of these films were: Himmatwala (1983), Justice Chaudhury (1983), Haisiyat (1984) and Singhasan (1986).

He was the first priority as a dialogue writer for the Hindi films directed by K. Raghavendra Rao, Narayana Dasari Rao, K. Bapaiah and for films produced by D. Rama Naidu and K. C. Bokadia. He also penned dialogues in other successful films in the late ’80s to the ’90s like Meri Aawaz Suno, Angaar, Jail Yatra, Satte Pe Satta, Katilon Ke Kaatil, Waqt Ki Awaz, Coolie No. 1, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Kanoon Apna Apna, Karma, Sultanat, Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri, Humshakal, Saajan Chale Sasural, Hero Hindustani, Aunty No. 1, and Rajaji. He also wrote dialogues for films of Rakesh Roshan like Khoon Bhari Maang, Kala Bazaar and Khudgarz.

Kader Khan
Picture: Social Media

In addition to acting and writing, Kadar Khan ventured into film production. He produced the film, “Shama.” Though he didn’t achieve the same level of success as a producer, his contributions to the industry in various roles were widely appreciated.

Kader Khan received several awards and accolades for his contributions to the Indian film industry. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue for the film “Meri Awaaz Suno” and was nominated for the same category several times for his other works.

In his later years, Kader Khan faced personal and health-related challenges. He left India to live with his family in Canada, where he passed away on December 31, 2018. His health had been deteriorating for several years before his demise.

Kader Khan with his sons Picture: Social Media

Kader Khan’s legacy in Indian cinema remains intact, and he is remembered as one of the most talented and beloved figures in the industry. His contribution as an actor, writer, and director enriched Bollywood’s history and left an indelible mark on the hearts of millions of fans.

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