Feroz Khan was known for playing the flamboyant anti-hero in reel life and was famously called the Clint Eastwood of the East for his cowboy boots and cigarette wielding persona. The panache that comes with the name was also translated into his films like Apradh (1972), Dharmatma
(1975) and Qurbani (1980). In the early 1960s, he was a budding actor and was reduced to doing small budget films. In 1965 his performance as Rajnikant, a playboy in the movie Oonche Log was much appreciated by the critics against veterans like Ashok Kumar and Raaj Kumar. In films like Aarzoo (1965), Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) and Safar (1970) Feroz played the second lead and entered the A-list in Bollywood (Hindi Cinema). He took a break from acting for a while before launching his son Fardeen Khan with Prem Aggan in 1998 which was a box office failure. His last blockbuster performance as an actor was Welcome
(2007) where he played the underworld don, RDX. Feroz hung his cowboy boots as he succumbed to lung cancer in April 2009.
Feroz Khan was born on September 25, 1939, to Sadiq (father), a Pathan and Fatima (mother) of Iranian descent. He studied at Bishop Cotton Boys' School and St Germain High School in Bangalore. Feroz Khan grew up in Bangalore and had planned to pursue higher education in Germany until he was offered a film on his visit to then Bombay (Mumbai).
Feroz Khan has three brothers, Sanjay Khan, Akbar Khan who are actors and Sameer Khan who is a film-maker,and two sisters Dilshad Bibi and Khurshid Shahnavar. Feroz Khan met Sundari Khan at a party, and they dated for five years before marrying in 1965. They have two children, Fardeen Khan
, an actor and Laila Khan, an artist. Feroz and Sundari divorced in 1985.
As an Actor
His first movie was Didi (1960) followed by a series of low-budget films like Reporter Raju (1962) and an English language film with Simi Garewal;
Tarzan Goes to India (1962). The second half of the sixties was spent being the second fiddle in the movies like, Oonche Log (1965) where is performance was noted as he acted among Raaj Kumar
and Ashok Kumar
, Arzoo (1965) opposite Sadhana, Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) which won him the Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Some of his other hits include Khotey Sikkay (1974), and Safar (1970). He teamed up with his brother Sanjay Khan who entered the film industry much later for movies like Upaasna (1967), Mela (1971), and Nagin (1976) playing the supporting actor.
In 1971, he turned into a producer-director to launch FK International and the first movie under the banner was Apradh (1970) where he played the lead opposite Mumtaz
. The 1970s and 1980s saw an array of his films where he played the director as well as an actor.
His remarkable performances are Dharmatma (1975), Qurbani (1980), Janbaaz (1986), Dayavan (1988), Yalgaar (1992). He took a break after Yalgaar and appeared in a film also starring his son which Firoz produced and directed called Janasheen (2003). His last portrayal as RDX, the underworld don in the blockbuster movie Welcome (2007) was applauded by the audiences.
As a Director
Feroz turned filmmaker in 1971 as a step forward in his career. He was way ahead of his time and brought a unique style of directing to Hindi Cinema. He is known for adding the Western elements to Bollywood movies and glamming up the stereotypical Hindi film heroines. His first movie was Apradh in 1971 where he co-starred opposite Mumtaz. Apradh was the first Bollywood film to be shot at an auto racing in Germany. Similarly, in his 1975, The Godfather inspired movie Dharmatma he filmed a few parts in Afghanistan, an unexplored territory then. His ensemble in the film of a cowboy will be remembered by the audiences for decades. In Qurbani (1980) he brought Zeenat Aman
’s cabaret act and established Nazia Hassan, a Pakistani singer as a singing sensation with the track “Aap Jaisa Koi." Bollywood was quite conservative in the 80s and Feroz in 1986 directed and starred in Janbaaz & in Dayavaan (1988) which included love scenes with Dimple Kapadia and Madhuri Dixit
respectively. In 1998 he launched his son Fardeen with the box office bomb, Prem Aggan and tried to relaunch his career with Janasheen (2003) but to no avail.