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Ajit Khan

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Ajit Khan
Ajit in Aan Baan (1956)
Hamid Ali Khan

(1922-01-27)27 January 1922
Died22 October 1998(1998-10-22) (aged 76)
ChildrenShehzad Khan
Arbaaz Ali Khan

Hamid Ali Khan (27 January 1922 – 22 October 1998), better known by his stage name Ajit, was an Indian actor active in Hindi films. He acted in over two hundred movies over a period of almost four decades.[1][2]

Ajit is also credited for starring as a lead actor in popular Bollywood movies such as Beqasoor,[3] Nastik, Bada Bhai, Milan, Bara Dari, and later as a second lead in Mughal-e-Azam and Naya Daur.[1]

Early life


Ajit was born as Hamid Ali Khan into a Deccani Muslim family of Hyderabad state near the historic fort of Golconda outside Hyderabad city. The family belonged to the Barozai clan of Pashtuns, Ajit's ancestors having moved from Kandahar in Afghanistan to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh before settling down in Hyderabad.[4] His father was a personal driver of Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan.[1][2]



Initially in his career, he struggled to meet people and be accepted in any film project, and in order to feed himself, he worked as an "extra" in several films. Finally, he managed to land a leading role, and in the first couple of films, he is credited by his real name, Hamid Khan. He did not meet with much success, and on the advice of Nana Bhai Bhat, he took the name "Ajit" meaning "indomitable" as his screen-name, but his luck did not greatly improve. Although he did several films as a protagonist and became known to the public, and although his distinctive baritone voice and impressive personality brought him a fan following, his luck at the box office was not good at all. Film director K. Amarnath, who directed him in Beqasoor, suggested that the actor change his long name of Hamid Ali Khan to something shorter, and Hamid zeroed in on "Ajit". Beqasoor (1950), in which he acted with Madhubala, was one of the biggest hits of 1950.[3] Ajit's films as hero include Nastik (1953), Bada Bhai, Milan, Baradari (1955) and Dholak (1951) and in all of them, he did credible work as actor. In Nastik (1953), the song "Dekh tere sansar ki haalat kya ho gayi Bhagwan" is picturised on him. He moved soon afterwards to second-lead roles, which he accepted because he had no other source of income. These movies include Naya Daur and Mughal-e-Azam.[5][1]

Ajit, who ran away from home to Mumbai after selling his college books, started his career in films in the 1940s. Luck did not favor him in the beginning. He began with the 1946 movie Shahe Misra, acting opposite Geeta Bose, and also did films such as Sikander (with Van Mala), Hatimtai (1947), Aap Beeti (with Khursheed), Sone Ki Chidiya (with Leela Kumari), Dholak (1951) (with Meena Shori) and Chanda Ki Chandni (with Monica Desai) as her leading hero, but flopped. He did the most films (15) with Nalini Jaywant. Ajit switched over to playing the villain. His first movie as a villain was Suraj, followed by films such as Zanjeer and Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973).[1][5]

His famous dialogues included the "Mona darling" bit in Yaadon Ki Baraat, "Lily don't be silly" in Zanjeer[1] and the one about a "Lion" in Kallicharan. Ajit's other well known films were Naya Daur, Nastik and Shikari to name only a few. In his four decades of film career, Ajit had acted along with the legendary Prithviraj Kapoor, Sohrab Modi, Amitabh Bachchan, I. S. Johar, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Dharmendra and many actresses, both young and old.[1]

In the mid-seventies, he had acted in over 57 films, mostly as a villain. His dialogue delivery remains popular even to this date.[1]

Acting style


Ajit almost always portrayed the sophisticated, educated, well groomed evil mastermind, albeit heartless villain. Ajit was presented in striking western attire, the "bold" checked suits, matching overcoats, white leather shoes, wide sunglasses, jewellery accessories. Given his stature as a senior artist, Ajit was usually the gang leader to second tier villains (such as Jeevan (actor), Prem Chopra, Ranjeet, Kader Khan and Sujit Kumar). He was rarely portrayed (in movie roles) doing any "dirty work" himself, rather relying on his army of henchmen for the task, with zero tolerance for any failures. He always had a savvy female accomplice, usually named "Mona." Acting in over 200 films, he specialized in playing suave villains with memorable catchphrases delivered in now iconic Ajit-style nasal drawls such as "Mona, darling". Ajit also brought to fame the smuggler as the villain. In his movies, he is generally seen smuggling gold biscuits in or out of the country. It has also been noted that most of his gang members had Christian names like Robert, Michael and Peter. He pronounced "Robert" as "Rabbert." This also has been used for comic purposes in parodies.[2][1]

It was the menacing voice he was most famous for. He is still remembered for bringing the most famous villains in the history of Indian cinema to life. His contemporaries include veteran actors like Amrish Puri, Amjad Khan, Pran and Prem Chopra. Some of his popularity in the present time is due to the innumerable jokes and parodies made on his famous lines by comedians.

Personal life


Ajit married three times. His first wife, whom he married after a brief love affair, was an Anglo-Indian and a Christian. The marriage was very short-lived and fell apart due to huge cultural differences and there were no children. Ajit married Shahida, a young lady of his own community and similar social background, in a match arranged by their parents in the usual Indian way. The marriage, which lasted till her death, was entirely harmonious and resulted in three sons, namely Shahid Ali Khan, Zahid Ali Khan and Abid Ali Khan.[2] Ajit then married a third time, and the name of his third wife was Sara/Sarah. The actor Jayant (better known as the father of actor Amjad Khan) took the initiative to facilitate this marriage. Ajit has a further two sons by his third wife, named Shezad Khan and Arbaaz Khan.

Ajit had a strong friendship with actor Rajendra Kumar. Apart from friendship, Ajit also credited Rajendra Kumar with advising and helping him to become a "leading villain" rather than a second-lead hero. Rajendra Kumar was instrumental in getting Ajit his first role as the villain in the film Suraj.

Death and survivors


Ajit died of a massive heart attack on 22 October 1998 in Hyderabad, India at the age of 76.[1] His colleagues in the film industry — leading personalities who have acted with him, grew up seeing him in Mumbai — expressed deep sorrow over his death. Earlier in 1981, Ajit went into retirement after he underwent a heart by-pass surgery in the United States.[1][2]

Well-known Indian writer Javed Akhtar, who scripted Zanjeer, said: "Like Bachchan, Ajit found a new image as villain after Zanjeer. He started a new innings in his career though he was an established hero in the fifties. His villainy started a new trend. Here was a new villain who was soft-spoken yet forceful. We wanted to give a different image to villainy which matched the hero".


Acting Filmography
Year Film Role
1995 Criminal[5] Jagdish Prasad
1994 Gangster[2][5] Chandulal Seth
1994 Aa Gale Lag Jaa Kalka Singh
1994 Betaaj Badshah Khan Chacha
1994 Aatish Uncle (Underworld Don)
1993 Shaktiman Shamsher Singh / Tiger
1993 Aadmi[5] Trikaal
1992 Jigar Baba Thakur (Karate Instructor)
1992 Police Officer Dindayal "D. D."
1985 Phaansi Ke Baad D.I.G. Surendranath
1984 Raaj Tilak Bhavani Singh
1984 Raja Aur Rana Teja / Heeralal
1983 Daulat Ke Dushman Jagga Thakur
1983 Razia Sultan Amil Balban
1983 Mangal Pandey Lal Singh / Jaganlal
1982 Chorni Shambhu Dada
1981 Khoon Aur Paani[5] Thakur Vikram Singh
1981 Aakhri Mujra
1981 Jyoti Amirchand
1981 Khuda Kasam[5] Raizada Hukamchand
1980 Choron Ki Baaraat[5] Dhanraj
1980 Ram Balram[2][5] Jaggu / Chowdhary Jagatpal
1979 Heera-Moti Pratap Singh
1979 Mr. Natwarlal Inspector Girdharilal
1978 Aahuti C.B.I. Officer Harnam Prasad
1978 Azaad Seema's Uncle
1978 Des Pardes[5] Gurnam
1978 Heeralaal Pannalaal Kalicharan
1978 Karmayogi[5] Keshavlal
1978 Ram Kasam Inspector Ajit Singh
1977 Aakhri Goli[5]
1977 Chalta Purza Captain Rajendra Behl
1977 Ankh Ka Tara Ramlal
1977 Hum Kisise Kum Naheen[1] Sunita's Father (Guest Appearance)
1976 Jaaneman[5] Raja Sahib / Gulbahar Singh
1976 Charas[5] Kalicharan
1976 Kalicharan[1][2] Dindayal / Lion
1976 Sangram Durjan
1975 Do Jhoot Nathulal
1975 Pratiggya Bharat Daku
1975 Warrant Master
1974 Badla Pratap / Randhir
1974 Khote Sikkay[5] Jangha
1974 Paap Aur Punya Balvir Singh
1974 Patthar Aur Payal Ajit Singh
1973 Bandhe Hath Inspector Kumar / Pakkad Singh
1973 Chhupa Rustam Vikram Singh
1973 Dharma[5] IG Ajit Singh
1973 Jugnu[2] Boss
1973 Kahani Kismat Ki Premchand
1973 Shareef Budmaash Ranjit
1973 Yaadon Ki Baaraat[1] Shakeel
1973 Zanjeer[5][1][2] Dharam Dayal Teja
1972 Dil Ka Raaja Thakur Gajendra Singh
1972 Sultana Daku
1971 Andaz Raju's Father
1971 Lal Patthar Raja Raghav Shankar Rai
1971 Paraya Dhan Heeralal Daku
1971 Patanga Kunwar Amar Singh
1970 Heer Raanjha Heer's husband
1970 Dharti[5] Diwan
1970 Jeevan Mrityu Harishchandra "Harish"
1969 Aadmi Aur Insaan Kundanlal / Sher Singh
1969 Prince Shamsher's Mamaji
1968 Raja Aur Runk Hariya
1967 Baghdad Ki Raatein
1966 Suraj[1][2] Rajkumar Pratap Singh
1965 Main Hoon Aladdin Aladdin
1965 Namaste Ji
1963 Shikari
1963 Kabli Khan Kabli Khan
1962 Burmah Road
1962 Tower House[5] Suresh Kumar
1962 Girls' Hostel
1961 Opera House[5] Ajit Rai
1960 Mughal-e-Azam[5][1][2] Durjan Singh
1960 Baraat[5] Shyamu
1959 Char Dil Char Rahen Dilawar
1959 Guest House[5] Amar
1958 Mehndi
1957 Miss Bombay
1957 Bada Bhai
1957 Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan
1957 Naya Daur[5][1] Krishna
1956 26 January
1956 Aan Baan
1956 Durgesh Nandini
1956 Halaku Parvez
1955 Aaj Ki Baat
1955 Bara Dari Ajit Singh
1955 Marine Drive[5] Ajit
1955 Naqab
1955 Shahzada[5]
1955 Teerandaz
1954 Maan
1954 Nastik[1] Anil Kapoor / Babaji
1954 Samrat
1952 Anand Math
1952 Moti Mahal
1952 Tarang
1952 Vasna
1951 Daman
1951 Dholak
1951 Saiyan Vijay
1951 Sarkar
1950 Beqasoor[3] Brij
1949 Jeevan Saathi
1949 Patanga
1945 Kurukshetra


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Villain Ajit, source of a zillion jokes, is dead". Rediff On The Net website. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kuldip Singh (7 November 1998). "Obituary: Ajit". The Independent newspaper. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Top Earners in India in 1950 - Box Office India". BoxOfficeIndia.com website. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  4. ^ Rizvi, Iqbal (2022). Ajit the Lion: Biography of Ajit Khan - A Legend of Indian Cinema. Blue Rose Publishers. pp. 3–4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Ajit filmography (click on TAB 'Show more' to expand)". British Film Institute (BFI) website. Archived from the original on 24 April 2022. Retrieved 20 October 2023.