Amjad Khan

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Amjad Khan
Date of Birth: November 12, 1940

Amjad Khan (12 November 1940 - 27 July 1992) was an acclaimed Indian actor. He worked in over 130 films in his film career spanning nearly twenty years. He enjoyed iconic popularity for his villain roles in Hindi language films - he is most famous for playing the role of the dacoit Gabbar Singh in Sholay (1975).

Amjad Khan was born in Hyderabad in 1940 to legendary actor Jayant. He was the brother of fellow actor Imtiaz Khan and Inayat Khan who only acted in one film. In 1957, he was cast in the movie Ab Dili Dur Nahin, as a child artist. Around 1972, he married Sheila Khan, and the following year, she gave birth to their first child, Shadaab Khan, who acted in a few films only. He also had a daughter Ahlam Khan and son Seemaab Khan.

Before Amjad came to films he was a theatre actor. His first film was Naazneen in which he appeared as a child artist at a tender age of four years.He had assisted K. Asif in the film Love and God and had also done a bit role in the film but the film was left incomplete and released over a decade later. In 1973, he made his debut in Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973).

In 1975 he was offered the role of a dacoit Gabbar Singh for the film Sholay (meaning sparks) by Salim who was one of the film's writers. For his preparation for the role Amjad read Abhishapth Chambal, a book on Chambal dacoits written by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri (actress Jaya Bhaduri's father). Amjad shot to stardom with the movie. His portrayal of Gabbar Singh is considered by many to be the first depiction of pure evil on the screen in Indian Cinema; a totally evil character who doesn't make excuses for its evil.

The movie Sholay is one of the all time superhit movies in India and one of the highest earners, and although the movie had a cast of superstars including Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra the most memorable character was that of Gabbar Singh. Amjad Khan appeared in advertisements as Gabbar Singh endorsing Brittania biscuits, and it was the first incidence of a villain being used to sell a popular product. The music of Sholay wasn't as successful as expected, hence the producers decided to release audio cassettes of dialogues and entire film sequences. This move was successful and is one of the reasons for the character of Gabbar Singh and his dialogues to gain iconic status.

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