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Govardhan Asrani (Sindhi: असरानी), popularly known simply as Asrani, is an Indian actor and director whose Bollywood career has spanned five decades. He has played in both Hindi and Gujarati films, and his roles include lead hero performances, character roles, comedic roles, as well as supporting parts.
Asrani was born on January 1, 1941 in a middle class Hindu Sindhi family. His father migrated to Jaipur after the Partition of India and opened a shop selling carpets. He has four sisters and three brothers: two elder and one younger. Asrani was highly uninterested in business and very weak in mathematics. He completed his matriculation from St. Xaviers School and did his graduation from Rajasthan College, Jaipur. He simultaneously worked as a voice artist at All India Radio, Jaipur, to pay for his education. His ultimate aim was to become an actor.
He is married to actress Manju (Bansal) Asrani, with whom he fell in love working together in films like Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar and Tapasya. In Aaj Ki Taza Khabar, Asrani played as Champak Boomia / Amit Desai and Manju played role of Kesari Desai and for this role Asrani won Filmfare Award for Best Comedian. Later the couple acted in Hum Nahin Sudhrenge, a home production directed by Asrani in 1980. His son Naveen Asrani is a dentist in Ahmedabad.
He began to learn acting from Sahitya Kalbhai Thakkar from 1960 to 1962. In 1962, he travelled to Bombay (now Mumbai) and began to seek opportunities to act. In 1963, on an accidental meeting with Kishore Sahu and Hrishikesh Mukherjee, they advised him to learn acting professionally.
In 1964 Asrani joined the Film Institute in Poona (now Film and Television Institute of India, Pune) and finished his course in 1966. He got his first break in Hindi films playing the friend of actor Biswajeet in the film Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan in 1967. In the film institute he had impressed many and made his acting break as a hero in 1967 with a Gujrati movie opposite budding actress Waheeda (not Waheeda Rahman; the Hindi actress). He acted in four other movies, mainly as actor or supporting actor in Gujrati from 1967 to 1969. He did not get much offers from Hindi film industry between 1967-69. His old advisor, Hrishikesh Mukherjee then gave him role of supporting actor in the film Satyakam in 1969. He got noticed then in the film Mere Apne. It was from 1971 that he started getting more offers as the main comedian in films or as the close friend of the lead actor.
Directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Atma Ram, Gulzar repeatedly cast him in the period 1971-1974 and his work got noticed through these films. These roles he did from 1971-1974 set the tone for a number of supporting and comic roles in his career and in 70's his demand was at its peak as he appeared in 101 films from 1970-1979 and had effective roles in them. Though initially Rajesh Khanna and Asrani had met only on sets of Bawarchi, they became close friends after Namak Haraam, after which for the role of comedian Rajesh Khanna insisted the producers and directors to make Asrani part of his films. Asrani worked in 25 films with Rajesh Khanna from 1972-1991 from Bawarchi(1972) to Ghar Parivaar(1991). His most memorable works as supporting actor from 1970-1979 are in Mere Apne, Koshish, Bawarchi, Parichay, Abhimaan, Mehbooba, Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein, Do Ladke Dono Kadke, Bandish. He played the lead hero in Chala Murari Hero Banne, a Hindi film he wrote and directed in 1977, which was critically acclaimed. His notable role as comedian from 70's are in Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar, Roti, Prem Nagar, Chupke Chupke, Chhoti Si Baat, Rafoo Chakkar, Sholay, Balika Badhu, Fakira, Anurodh, Chhailla Babu, Charas, Phaansi, Dillagi, Heeralal Pannalal, Pati Patni Aur Woh and Hamare Tumhare. Though he had played supporting character in many films even before, he played a serious role for first time in Khoon Pasina. He was hugely talked about in the 1970s and was one of Rajesh Khanna's close friends. He became a regular feature in films produced by D. Rama Naidu and those movies directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, B.R.Chopra, K. Bapaiah, Narayana Rao Dasari, K. Raghavendra Rao, Basu Chatterjee in 1972-1992. He won the Filmfare award for Best Comedian for his performances in Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar in 1974 and for Balika Badhu in 1977. In 1974, he directed his first movie in Gujrati with Asrani himself as the hero, and the song Hu Amdavad No Rikshawalo sung by Kishore Kumar was picturised on Asrani. The songs picturised on Asrani and sung by Kishore in Hindi are Achcha Chaloji Baba Maaf Kardo from Hamare Tumhare, Pyar Main Karoonga from Yeh Kaisa Insaaf. The song 'Mannu Bhai Motor Chali Pam' was sung by him with Kishore Kumar and was picturised on Rishi Kapoor and him, in 'Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan' in 1978.
In the 1980s, he acted in 107 Hindi films. Asrani holds record for appearing as a character actor/comedian in most number of Hindi films in a decade – 101 in 70’s and 107 in 80’s. Unlike his roles in 1970-84 which were pivotal to the plot, most of his roles from 1985-1993 were very minor mainly because the concept of a comedian was getting phased out and heroes preferred to do their own comedy and action films were ruling the roost in the period 1985-1994. In 80's his memorable performances were in Hamari Bahu Alka, Ek Hi Bhool, Yeh Kaisa Insaf, Kaamchor, Agar Tum Na Hote, Asha Jyoti, Maqsad, Main Intequam Loonga, Love 86, Biwi Ho To Aisi. During this period in 1982, he set up a small Gujrati production company with fellow artistes Dinesh Hingoo, Harish Patel and Salim Parvez (son of famous supporting actor Yunus Parvez). The company dissolved in 1996 with a large profit. Asrani also invested mainly in cloth and acted as investor for other actors, until 1991 when he lost a lot of money. From 1988 to 1993, he was a director for the Film Institute in Pune. It was only from 1985-1994 that his screen space in the Hindi films were for less duration. In 90's he did only 73 Hindi movies due to lack of good scope for him to perform. Muqabla (1993) saw him in a serious role after long time.
Simultaneously he kept working in Gujrathi films in 70's, 80's as lead hero and achieved success as the lead protagonist in Amdavad No Rikshawalo, Saat Qaidi, Sansar Chakra, Pankhi No Malo, Jugal Jodi, Maa Baap, Chel Chabilo Gujarati. From 90's he played as comedian or supporting actor in Gujrathi films like Mota Ghar Ni Vahu, Piyu Gayo Pardesh, Baap Dhamal Dikhra.
D.Rama Naidu gave him a pivotal role to Asrani in Taqdeerwala in 1995 and once again comedy movies were being made from thereon . Asrani started getting good roles in films directed by David Dhawan and Priyadarshan from 1993 till 2012. His most memorable performances as comedian from 90's are in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Gardish, Taqdeerwala, Gharwali Baharwali, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Hero Hindustani.
The 2000s saw Asrani in a number of films like Hera Pheri, Chup Chup Ke, Hulchul, Deewane Huye Paagal, Garam Masala, Chup Chup Ke, Malamaal Weekly, Bhagam Bhag, De Dana Dan, Bol Bachchan, Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal which had him in effective comedy roles. He appeared in a serious role in Kyun Ki. He was an integral part of comedies by Sajid Nadiadwala, Priyadarshan after 2000. His screen space in films of Rohit Shetty and others has got reduced gradually after 2009.
Asrani has directed six movies.
|1992||Dil Hi To Hai||Hindi|
|1980||Hum Nahin Sudhrenge||Hindi|
|1977||Chala Murari Hero Banne||Hindi|
|1974||Amdavad No Rikshawalo||Gujarati|
Asrani recently made a special appearance in the Punjabi film Yaariyan.
|1977||Alaap||"Binati Sun Le Tanik"|
|"Ho Rama Dar Lage Apni Umariya Se"|
|1978||Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan||"Mannu Bhai Motor Chali Pum Pum"||with Kishore Kumar|
|Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal||Priest|
|2009||Paying Guests||Kiska Miglani|
|De Dana Dan||Mamu|
|All The Best||Vidya's father|
|Fool & Final||Lalwani|
|Chup Chup Ke||Sharma Ji|
|Kyon ki||a Asylum patient|
|2004||Ek Se Badhkar Ek||Don Srikant Ramprasad|
|Tujhe Meri Kasam||Kashinath Dixit|
|2002||Dil Vil Pyar Vyar||Chandru|
|Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare||Topichand's brother-in-law|
|Awara Paagal Deewana||Champaklal|
|Ek Aur Visphot||Dr. Daniel|
|2001||Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa||Jhoomri's Boss|
|Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar||Chandiramani|
|Chal Mere Bhai||Family Doctor|
|Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa||Company owner|
|Hera Pheri||Bank Manager|
|Haseena Maan Jaayegi||Jamnadas|
|International Khiladi||Payl's Boss|
|Heeralal Pannalal||Havaldar Chaurasia|
|Bade Miyan Chote Miyan||Security Officer|
|Dulhe Raja||Inspector Azgar Singh|
|Gharwali Baharwali||Dr. Ved|
|Dil Tera Aashiq||Natwar Lal|
|1992||Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar||Dubeyji, Teacher|
|1985||Teri Meherbaniyan||Munim Banwarilal|
|1978||Pati Patni Aur Woh||Abdul Karim Durrani|
|Badalte Rishtey||Anup Chandra Thakur|
|1975||Chhoti Si Baat||Nagesh|
|Rafoo Chakkar||Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi|
|Chupke Chupke||Prashant Shrivastav|
|Aap Ki Kasam||Dr. Ghad-Ghad Singhwala|
|1973||Namak Haraam||Dhondu, Shyama's brother|
|1967||Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan|
|1973||Anhonee||Shama Sushama Award for Best Comedian||Won|
|1974||Abhimaan||Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar||Filmfare Best Comedian Award||Won|
- Asrani Awards, List Of Awards Won By Asrani. Gomolo.com.
- List of Asrani & Manju Bansal movies together. Gomolo.com.
- Govardhan Asrani: Sindhi Comedian: Biography: Filmography of Asrani: Film Fare Award: Sholey. Thesindhuworld.com.
- Asrani - Bollywood Actor - Comedian From Pink City Jaipur. Rajasthantour4u.com (1 January 1941).