Kader Khan: The Cinematic Odyssey, Unravelling 5 Iconic Chapters of his Life

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By Filmi Khan

Kader Khan, a luminary of Indian cinema, was born on October 22, 1937, in Kabul, Afghanistan. His journey from an engineering student to one of Bollywood’s most revered actors, writers, and directors is nothing short of extraordinary.

Picture: Social Media

Early Life and Entry into Bollywood:

Kader Khan’s tryst with Hindi cinema began in the early 1970s when he made a mark as a dialogue writer. His wit and humour quickly garnered attention, propelling him into the spotlight.

Picture: Social Media

Versatility Personified:

Kader Khan’s brilliance transcended conventional roles. Besides his impeccable comedic timing, he excelled in portraying diverse characters, establishing himself as a versatile actor capable of handling both comic and serious roles with equal finesse.

Kader wrote dialogue for over 250 films and acted in over 300 films. He used to write dialogue in Hindi and Urdu, this journey started from the 1970s up to the turn of the 21st century. Rajesh Khanna was impressed from his writing skills and on the insistence of Khanna, Manmohan Desai paid him the high amount of one lakh twenty-one thousand (121,000) for writing dialogue for his film Roti (1974), which was produced by Rajesh himself.

He worked with most popular actors of the time; Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra, Feroz Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Anil Kapoor, Govinda and in films directed by T. Rama Rao, K. Raghavendra Rao, K. Bapaiah, Narayana Rao Dasari, David Dhawan.

He acted with other comedians like Asrani, Shakti Kapoor, Johnny Lever and Rajpal Yadav. He has worked with Amrish Puri, Prem Chopra, Amjad Khan and Anupam Kher in many films. His acting skill had many shades like comedy, action, romance, family, social and political.

Kader Khan made his debut as an actor with the film Daag, starring Rajesh Khanna as a protagonist, wherein he played the supporting role as an advocate. He subsequently worked as a character artist in Dil Diwana, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Mr. Natwarlal.

He also started getting bigger roles as supporting artist after 1984, 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.

From 1988, he worked in films as 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.

Legendary Collaboration with Amitabh Bachchan:

Picture: Social Media

The duo of Kader Khan and Amitabh Bachchan became synonymous with success. Their collaborations in films like Mr. Natwarlal, Khoon Pasina, Do Aur Do Paanch, Satte Pe Satta, Inquilab, Giraftaar, Hum and Agneepath, created cinematic magic. Amitabh Bachchan received the National Film Award for his film Agneepath.

Blockbuster Comedy Ventures:

Picture: Social Media

Kader Khan’s comedic genius shone brightly in numerous blockbuster comedies. He first tried his hands at comedy was with film Himmatwala and Aaj Ka Daur but He started getting lead comedy roles from 1989 onwards, with films like Kishen Kanhaiya, Hum, Ghar Parivar, Bol Radha Bol and continued through the nineties with comic timings in filmslike 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, Sirf Tum and Anari No. 1. Even 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, showcased his unparalleled ability to induce laughter with his impeccable comic timing and memorable dialogues.

He later worked in Lucky: No Time for Love (2006) and Family: Ties of Blood (2006).

Transition to Filmmaking:

Picture: Social Media

Beyond acting, Khan made a mark as a screenwriter and director. His directorial ventures, such as “Shama” added another dimension to his multifaceted career.

Personal Life:

Kader with sons
Picture: Social Media

Kader Khan lived in Mumbai, until shifting to Toronto due to health reasons. He had three sons: Sarfaraz Khan, Shahnawaz Khan, and a third son Quddus who lived in Canada, died in 2021. His elder son Sarfaraz Khan has also acted in films. His most famous film was ‘Tere Naam’ along with megastar Salman Khan where he played the role of Salman’s character friend. In 2014, Kader Khan performed Hajj.


He was suffering from degenerative disease. On 31 December 2018 (EST), his elder son, Sarfaraz Khan, confirmed that Kader Khan had died.

Kader Khan’s contribution to the Indian film industry is immeasurable. His legacy is not just confined to his on-screen performances but also extends to the memorable scripts and dialogues he crafted. As we revisit his cinematic journey, it becomes evident that Kader Khan wasn’t just an actor; he was an architect of emotions, laughter, and timeless entertainment.

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