The Multi-Faceted Kader Khan!

An all-rounder is the one, who fits into various roles with ease and is equally adept at all. Kader Khan was one such Bollywood personalities, who essayed roles of comedian, dialogue writer, supporting actor or villain with equal aplomb.

The 81-year-old actor-writer breathed his last in Canada on Tuesday after prolonged illness. He was suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative disease that causes loss of balance, difficulty in walking and dementia.

Even as condolences poured in, Kader Khan’s son Sarfaraz expressed displeasure over his illustrious father being neglected by the film industry after he migrated to Canada to live with his three sons, saying “There are too many fragmented camps and loyalties. The out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality can’t be helped”.

However, there is no denying the fact that his contribution to Bollywood has been immense.

Let us reminiscence his early days and touch upon his journey as a dialogue writer , comedian and his association with Amitabh Bachchan and Shakti Kapoor.

Early Days

Kader Khan was born in Afghanistan. He was a civil Engineer and took up teaching as a profession. He taught civil engineering at Mumbai in a college based at Byculla. Acting was his hobby and once in the annual day function of his college, his play “Taash ke patte”  was noticed by the comedian Agha Saab who told the great Dilip Kumar about it. Dilip Kumar called up Kader Khan and introduced himself as Yusuf Khan. When Kader khan asked who Yusuf Khan was, the reply was “Log usse Dilip Kumar ke naam se jaante hain“. Kader Khan says that the phone fell from his hand. Dilip Kumar asked him to take up acting and screenplay/dialogue writing as a full time profession. What a discovery indeed!

Scriptwriter/Dialogue writer

Kader Khan wrote dialogues for around 250 films and acted in almost all of them, around 300 in all. He won the Filmfare award for best dialogue writer for Angaar as well as for Meri Awaz Suno. His career as a dialogue writer started with Javaani Diwani for which he was paid Rs 1500. It was certainly not a big enough amount and he continued teaching his students. However for Khel Khel Mein, he received Rs 21000, which was a substantial increase. Manmohan Desai then broke the coveted 1 Lakh barrier by giving him Rs 1,20,000 for the film Roti. What a rise, and deservedly so.


Kader Khan had a terrific comic timing. He won the Filmfare best comedian award for Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri, a rare film in which two comedians, Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor played the lead. Other films in which he got acclaim as comedian were Coolie No.1, Dulhe Raja, Saajan Chale Sasural, Aankhen, Hum, Himmatwala, Aaj ka Daur, Sikka and Main khiladi tu anari. In all these movies he got best comedian nominations.

Kader Khan and Amitabh Bachchan

They made a terrific pair. Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai were of two rival camps with Amitabh and Kader Khan being the common feature in both camps. Amitabh and Kader Khan were associated with as many as 33 films together and many of the megastar’s famous dialogues were written by Kader Khan. Sharaabi, Muqaddar ka Sikandar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish, are some of the top movies in which they have acted together. Kader Khan says he had advised Amitabh not to join politics and that may have affected their relationship.

Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor

The duo have worked together in 125 movies, which could be some record of sorts. As Shakti Kapoor himself says, they were the most famous pair since Kishore Kumar and Mehmood and distributors bought movies only since Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor featured in them. Shakti Kapoor used to call him messiah – a man sent by God. They also acted together in films like Haseena Maan Jayegi, Deevaana Mastana, Hero No 1, Aankhen and Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri. 

We will always remember you.

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