Danny Denzongpa

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Danny Denzongpa
Danny Denzongpa in 2010
Born Tshering Phintso Denzongpa
(1948-02-25) February 25, 1948 (age 66)[1]
Gangtok, Kingdom of Sikkim (now state of Sikkim in India)
Residence Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Occupation Actor
Years active 1963–present
Spouse(s) Gawa Denzongpa
Children Rinzing Denzongpa,
Pema Denzongpa

Tshering Phintso "Danny" Denzongpa [2] (born 25 February 1948) is an Indian actor of Sikkimese-Bhutia descent, working in Bollywood films though he has appeared in several Nepali, Telugu and Tamil films as well. He has acted in numerous Hindi films such as Asoka and 16 December. He has also starred in some international projects, the most famous being Seven Years in Tibet where he acted alongside Hollywood actor Brad Pitt. In 2003, Denzongpa was awarded the Padma Shree, India's fourth highest civilian honour. Denzongpa is noted for his villainous and character roles.

Early life and education[edit]

Danny was born to a Buddhist family in the erstwhile Kingdom of Sikkim[3] (the 22nd state of India since 1975) where he had his early schooling, and thereafter completed his schooling from Birla Vidya Mandir and St. Joseph's College, Darjeeling, North Bengal, in 1964. Denzongpa's love of horses and horse riding began at an early age, as his family was into horse breeding.

He nursed an ambition to join the Indian Army and won the Best Cadet award from West Bengal and participated in the Republic Day parade. In an interview to The Times of India newspaper, he said that he had qualified for prestigious Armed Forces Medical College, Pune but withdrew admission to join Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. He decided to change his name to a simpler sounding "Danny" as his original name was tough to be pronounced by other students. The name has stuck since.[4]

Film and singing career[edit]

During his early film career, Danny used to practice learning Hindi by talking to the ocean. The language came in handy in films such as Sawan Kumar's Sanam Bewafa and Mukul Anand's Khuda Gawah.

Danny's film career spans more than 4 decades. In the 1970s, he played relatively smaller roles which got him noticed. After his performance in the film Lahoo Ke Do Rang, he started getting more significant lengthy roles. Through the 1980s and 1990s, Danny mainly featured as the lead negative character opposite all the leading actors of those times such as Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Mithun Chakraborthy, Vinod Khanna, Anil Kapoor and Sunny Deol.

He had his first major role which he played in B.R.Chopra's 'Dhundh'(1973). This role shows his power, followed by 'Kanoon Kya Karega'. His other most applauded negative characters are in Andar Baahar (1984) as Shera, Aandhi Toofan (1986), Bhagwan Dada (1986) as Gangwaa, Agneepath (1990) as Kancha Cheena, Hum (1991) as Bakhtawar, Ghatak: Lethal as Kaatya, Krantiveer (1994) as Chatur Singh and Pukar (2000) as Abhrush

He started out with B-grade movies such as B.R. Ishara's Zaroorat in 1971,[5] and later moved on to Mere Apne and Kala Sona where he played more positive roles. He then went on to play the roles of the villain numerous times. Some of the antihero roles he played were an unscrupulous politician, corrupt policeman, traitor, and mingy landlord. He got his major break in Gulzar's Mere Apne and later in B R Chopra's Dhund where he played a crippled and frustrated husband. It is said Danny was the first choice to play the iconic role of Gabbar Singh in the film Sholay. However since he was away on the shoot of Feroz Khan film Dharmatma, eventually Gabbar's role went to Amjad Khan. One of his critically acclaimed roles as a villain came when he played the role of Bakhtawar, a don bent on revenge in Mukul Anand's Hum. He was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Villain.

He is an accomplished singer having sung with Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhonsle, three stalwarts of Indian music. He has released Nepalese songs and has sung for Nepalese movies. His two most famous songs recorded in 1970s but still hit are "Chiso Chiso Hawama" ("In the cool air") and "Manko kura lai bandhi narakha..."("Do not keep the words of the heart tied").

He wrote and acted in the Nepali film Saino which was super hit. His nephew Ugyen Chhopel directed it. He has sung its title song and a duet with Deepa Narayan, wife of Udit Narayan. Later, this film was made in Hindi as Ajnabi as a telefilm for Doordarshan. He has sung a Nepali duet with Asha Bhosle, "Aage aage topai ko gola pachhi pachhi machinegun barara" . His all-Nepali songs are hits and people like them even today: "Hiun vanda chiso, Aago vanda taato..." ("Colder than snow, hotter than fire.."), "Naachana hoi maichyan hau nachana" ("Dance o lovely girl"), "Jhimkai deu pareli manma bajchha mitho murali..." ("Please blink your eyes and sweet sound of flute plays in the heart), Rato rani pulhya etc. are his few hit numbers.

He is also a painter, a writer and a sculptor.

In the past decade, Danny gave stellar performances in movies such as Asoka and 16 December (2002).[citation needed] He then went on to appear in the successful Tamil film, Enthiran, co-starring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in the leads. Denzongpa played the antagonist role of Bohra, a prominent scientist who transforms Chitti (played by Rajinikanth) into an evil robot. Upon release, the film won critical and commercial acclaim.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Danny, who married Gawa Denzongpa, a Sikkimese princess and niece of the last chogyal from her hometown of Gangtok, currently resides in Juhu in Mumbai. Since the 2000s (decade), he has become more selective of the roles he plays.In the movies he chooses, he works on his own terms. He has a son named Rinzing and a daughter named Pema. His brother owns a bouj and beer factory in Melli, Sikkim.

Awards and honours[edit]

Filmfare Awards


As director


  1. ^ "Star birthdays in February". ifestyle.in.msn.com. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "If I had done Sholay, we would have missed a fantastic actor in Amjad Khan," Screen India
  3. ^ "Salman Khan is the Amitabh Bachchan of the 80s: Danny". The Times of India. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Somaaya, Bhawana (September 26, 2003). "1984 DANNY DENZONGPA". Screen magazine. 
  5. ^ Danny Denzongpa treks down the past one.india, September 11, 2007.

External links[edit]