The terrorizing persona of Gabbar and the spiteful obsessive Dilawar are the most iconic characters played by Amjad Khan in Hindi Cinema. Born to one of the Indian film industry`s veterans Zakaria Khan, better known as Jayant
, he rose to stardom when he played Gabbar in the 1975 movie Sholay. Throughout his career, he was known to play negative roles, but he did not retreat from playing positive roles and comedic characters as well. He is remembered for playing Amitabh Bachchan`s friend Bishan in Yaarana
(1981), and his father Ragbeer Singh in Laawaris
(1981). He has worked in about 130 movies in his 20 years` movie career.
Amjad Khan was born to legendary actor Jayant on November 12, 1940 in Hyderabad, India. He studied at St. Andrew`s High School in Bandra and attended R. D. National College where he was said to be General Secretary. Before turning to the big screen, Amjad started his acting career with theater.
Amjad married Shehla Khan in 1972. Together, they have two sons, Shadaab Khan and Seemab Khan, and a daughter, Ahlam Khan. His brothers Imtiaz Khan and Inayat Khan are also actors. He died in the year 1992 of heart failure.
As an Actor
Amjad appeared in minor roles with his father, Jayant, as a child actor in films like Nazneen (1951) and Ab Dilli Dur Nahin (1957). His debut movie as an adult actor was Hindustan Ki Kasam in 1973. In 1975, he stepped into the character of Gabbar Singh for the film Sholay
and redefined the archetypal villain in Hindi Cinema. Gabbar became him as he prepared for the character. He read the book Abhishapth Chambal by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri to understand the Chambal dacoits and get the finer details right. Sholay was a blockbuster, and the success of the film is unmatched in the Bollywood report cards. In the movie, he starred alongside Sanjeev Kumar
, who won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for the film that year, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra
, Hema Malini
, and Jaya Bachchan
. His dialogues from the movie and mannerisms are studied, followed and mimicked alike. He played the role of a criminal called Dilawar in the 1978 movie Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, produced and directed by Prakash Mehra.
Through the rest of 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he played a number of negative roles in the movies Shatranj Ke Khiladi
(1977), Hum Kisise Kam Nahin (1977), Ganga Ki Saugandh
(1978), Des Pardes
(1979), Chambal Ki Kasam (1980), Naseeb (1981), Satte Pe Satta
(1982), and Nastik
Some of his roles as positive characters include Yarana (1981) and Lawaris (1981). He also went out of his comfort zone and played comic characters in the movies Qurbani
(1980), Love Story
(1981), and Chameli Ki Shaadi
(1986). In 1991, he reprised the role of Gabbar Singh in the Indian spoof film directed by Ajit Diwani called Ramgarh Ke Sholay, which went on to become a sleeper hit.
As a director
Amjad assisted the film director K. Asif
in his movie Love and God
(1986). He directed films like Chor Police (1983) where he co-starred with Parveen Babi
, Shatrughan Sinha
, Kader Khan
, and Shakti Kapoor
and it was a box-office success. However, Ameer Aadmi Gareeb Aadmi
(1985) did not fare well at the box office.