Sanjay Khan

  • Actor, Director, Writer, Producer

Jan 03, 1941  in Karnataka, India

Also Known as: Tipu Sultan

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Sanjay Khan is an Indian director, producer and actor, who is popularly known for creating The Sword of Tipu Sultan, one of India's first big budget TV shows of the '90s. The TV show remains to be one of the most appreciated projects of Indian television. Sanjay has acted in over 30 movies throughout his illustrious career spanning 1964 to 1986. His best roles came with the movies Haqeeqat (1964), and the horror fantasy Nagin (1976).

Early Life
Sanjay Khan (or Shah Abbas Khan) was born on January 3, 1941 in Bangalore, India. He is of mixed Afghan and Iranian parentage, his ancestral roots tracing back to a GhaznaviPathan lineage. The Khan family were liberals, raising him and his three brothers to believe in themselves and their dreams. His two brothers, Feroz and Akbar joined the film industry along with him.

Personal Life
Sanjay Khan married actress and model Zarine Katrak in 1966. The couple have three daughters and a son-Farah Khan-born on 28 December 1969, Simone Khan- born on 12 February 1971, Sussane Khan-born on 26 October 1978 and son Zayed Khan -born on 5 July 1980. Sanjay became a grandfather on March 28th, 2006 when his youngest daughter Sussane and her then husband Hrithik Roshan had their first son Hreehan.

The actor has a passion for imported cars, and the breeding of horses and dogs. He has bred Saluki hounds, great Danes, Alsatians, Dalmatians, Schipperkes and Pomeranians.

Movie Career
As an Actor
Sanjay began his acting career in 1964 with the war film Haqeeqat directed by Chetan Anand, followed by his role in the movie Dosti which released in the same year. The latter explored the friendship between two handicapped boys and was a massive box office success, being among the top ten hits of 1964. The film was screened at the 4th Moscow International Festival and made Sanjay an instant star.In subsequent years, the actor appeared in movies such as Dillagi (1966), Milan Ki Raat (1967), and Shart, which was released in 1969. In the same year, Sanjay appeared in the blockbuster hit Ek Phool Do Mali directed by Devendra Goel. The movie, in which he portrays the character of Amar Kumar, also stars Balraj Sahani and Sadhana Shivdasani. He next starred in the suspense thriller Intaqam directed by R. K. Nayyar. Inteqam turned out to be another successful project for Sanjay, while one of the songs of the movie 'Aa Jaane Jaan', the first cabaret number sung by the legendary Lata Mangeshkar went on to become a popular song.

In 1970, Sanjay starred in three films, Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Puspanjali, and Maharaja. In the following year, after appearing in Woh Din Yaad Karo (1971) and Mela (1971), he was cast opposite Rekha in the movie Haseeno Ka Devta, directed by Ravikant Nagaich.

In 1972, Sanjay starred in the movie Dharkhan, along side Mumtaz, Rajendra Nath, and Helen. In spite of having a glamorous cast and good songs, the movie failed to make an impact on the audience owing to its poor editing. The following year he played the role of Suresh Saxena in the thriller Dhund directed and produced by B. R. Chopra. The movie, based on Agatha Christie's play The Unexpected Guest, also stars Zeenat Aman, Danny Denzongpa, Navin Nischol, Ashok Kumar, Madan Puri, and Deven Puri. In the next few years, Sanjay was seen in films such as Trimurti (1974), Duniya Ka Mela (1974), and Zindagi Aur Toofaan (1975). However, it was his 1976 movie Nagin that turned out to be one of the biggest box office hits of his career. The horror fantasy film included the ensemble cast of Reena RoySunil Dutt, Feroz Khan, Jeetendra, Rekha, Mumtaz and Yogita Bali. The following year he was seen in the movie Mastan Dada (1977) directed by Satyan Bose.

As a Director
In 1977, he shifted his focus to direction with the release of the action mystery movie Chandi Sona followed by Abdullah (1980) and Khala Dhanda Goray Log (1986).

As a Producer
Sanjay Khan produceed movies such as Abdullah (1980), Chandi Sona (1977), and Kala Dhanda Goray Log (1986).

As A Writer
In 1986, he wrote the movie Kala Dhanda Goray Log which he also directed and acted in. The movie received poor reviews at the box office and turned out to be Sanjay's last film before he shifted his focus to the television industry.

Television Career
In 1990, Sanjay began working on India's first big budget historical fiction television program, The Sword of Tipu Sultan (1990), in which he starred as the titular character. Unfortunately, he was involved in a major fire accident during the first shooting schedule of the series, receiving 65% third-degree burns. Nevertheless, after undergoing 73 surgeries and spending 13 months admitted in the hospital, he recovered and went back to directing the show. The program was declared a classic and Sanjay's performance has been greatly admired, including his talents of scripting and directing the series.

He has also produced,directed and wrote The Great Maratha (1994) based on the life of the Maratha General MahadjiScindia and the third Panipat war of the Marathas against the Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1769. The series was iconic as it was presented in a realistic historical way, a style never seen before in the history of Indian television.

During the 1990's, Sanjay produced and directed Jai Hanuman (1997-2000) about the birth and childhood of Lord Hanuman. It was immensely popular being the first on screen adaptation of Hanuman's life in cinematic history. The director has also created the television dramas 1857 Kranti and Maharathi Karna.