Amjad Khan

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Amjad Khan
Native name امجد خان
अमजद ख़ान
Born Amjad Zakaria Khan
(1940-11-12)12 November 1940
Peshawar, British India
Died 27 July 1992(1992-07-27) (aged 51)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Film actor, director
Years active 1965–1992
Known for Gabbar Singh

Amjad Zakaria Khan (12 November 1940 – 27 July 1992) was an Indian actor and director.[1] He worked in over 130 films in a career spanning nearly twenty years. He enjoyed popularity for his villainous roles in Hindi films, the most famous being the iconic Gabbar Singh in the 1975 classic Sholay[2] and of Dilawar in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978).

Early life[edit]

Amjad Khan was born in Adezai, a small village of Peshawar, British India, to legendary actor Jayant.[3] His brothers are actors Imtiaz Khan and Inayat Khan who acted in one film. His family was originally from the city of Peshawar, in modern day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Pakistan).[4]

Khan was educated at St.Andrew's High School, in Bandra, Mumbai. He attended R D National College where he was the general secretary, the highest elected student body representative.


Before Amjad Khan came to films he was a theatre actor. His first role was in the film Nazneen (1951). His next role was at the age of 17 in the film Ab Dilli Dur Nahin (1957).[5] He made appearances in minor roles with father Jayant in a few films. He assisted K. Asif in Love And God in the late 1960s and had a brief appearance in the film. The film was left incomplete after Asif's death in 1971, and it ended up releasing in 1986. In 1973 he made his debut as an adult in Hindustan Ki Kasam.

In 1975 he was offered the role of dacoit Gabbar Singh for the film Sholay by Salim Khan who was one of its writers. In 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 in Indian Cinema. His mannerisms and dialogues have become an integral part of Bollywood lexicon and spawned numerous parodies and spoofs. Sholay went on to become a blockbuster. Although it boasted an ensemble cast of superstars including Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar, who was nominated that year for the Filmfare award for Best Actor category, Amjad stole the show with his unorthodox and eerie dialogue delivery. Even to this day people fondly remember his dialogues and mannerisms. He later appeared in advertisements as Gabbar Singh endorsing Britannia Glucose Biscuits (popularly known as "Gabbar Ki Asli Pasand"), the first incidence of a villain being used to sell a popular product.[6]

After the success of Sholay, Khan continued to play negative roles in many subsequent Hindi films in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s – superseding, in terms of popularity and demand, the earlier Indian actor, Ajit. He often acted as villain opposite Amitabh Bachchan as the hero. His role in 'Inkaar' was also presented in terrifying manner. He made his presence felt in 'Des Pardes', 'Nastik', 'Satte Pe Satta', 'Dada', 'Chambal Ki Kasam', 'Ganga Ki Saugandh', 'Hum Kisise Kam Nahin', and 'Naseeb'.

Khan was also acclaimed for playing many unconventional roles. In the critically acclaimed film Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) (based on the novel of the same title) by Munshi Premchand and directed by Satyajit Ray, Khan played the helpless and deluded monarch Wajid Ali Shah, whose kingdom, Avadh, is being targeted by British colonialists from the British East India Company. It is the only movie in which he dubbed a song. He played many positive roles in films such as Yaarana (1981) and Laawaris (1981) as Amitabh's friend and father respectively. In the art film Utsav (1984), he portrayed Vatsayana, the author of the Kama Sutra. In 1988 he appeared in the Merchant-Ivory English film The Perfect Murder as an underworld don. He excelled at playing comical characters in films such as Qurbani (1980), Love Story, and Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986). In 1991, he reprised his role as Gabbar Singh in Ramgarh Ke Sholay, a parody of the legendary film which included look-alikes of Dev Anand and Amitabh Bachchan.

He ventured into directing for a brief period in the 1980s directing and starring in Chor Police (1983), which was a success, and Ameer Aadmi Gareeb Aadmi (1985) which failed to do well at the box office.

Amjad was the president of the Actors Guild Association. He was respected in the film industry. He would intervene and negotiate disputes between actors and directors/producers. One such dispute occurred when Dimple Kapadia agreed to play a mother role and later backed out. The entire film producers' community tried to boycott her. Amjad intervened on behalf of the Actors Guild.

Personal life[edit]

In 1972, he married Shehla Khan and in the following year, she gave birth to their first child, Shadaab Khan, who acted in a few films. He also had a daughter, Ahlam Khan, and another son, Seemaab Khan. Ahlam married popular theater actor Zafar Karachiwala in 2011.[7]


In 1976, Khan had a near-fatal accident on the Mumbai-Goa road, when he drove his car into a tree while trying to avoid a boulder. The drugs administered to him caused a serious weight problem for the rest of his life. As a result of his increasing weight, he died in 1992 after suffering from heart failure at the age of 52. Several of the films he had completed were released after his death, until 1996. His funeral procession passed from his house in Pali Hill to the Muslim Burial in Bandra East.


Year Film Role Notes
1951 Nazneen credited as Amjad, child artist
1957 Ab Dilli Dur Nahin Lachhu
1961 Maya
1973 Hindustan Ki Kasam
1975 Sholay Gabbar Singh Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1976 Charas
Ginny Aur Johnny
1977 Aafat Shera
Aakhri Goli
Chakkar Pe Chakkar Avdhut
Hum Kisise Kum Naheen Saudagar Singh
Kasam Khoon Ki Bhajirao
Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein Nattu
Parvarish Mangal Singh
Ram Bharose Bhanupratap
Shatranj Ke Khiladi Wajid Ali Shah
1978 Apna Khoon Khan
Besharam Digvijay Singh/Dharamdas
Bandie Kanchan V. Singh
Bhookh Thakur Harnam Singh
Des Pardes Bhoot Singh/Avtar Singh
Ganga Ki Saugand Thakur Jashwant Singh
Heeralal Pannalal Panther
Inkaar Raj Singh 'Kidnapper'
Kasme Vaade Juda, the Hunchback Guest appearance
Khoon Ki Pukaar Zalim Singh/Sardar
Muqaddar Ka Sikandar Dilawar
Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan Kalandhar
Ram Kasam
Sawan Ke Geet
1979 Ahsaas Pradeep Rai Choudhry
Chambal Ki Raani
Dada Fazlu
Do Shikaari Zorro
Hamare Tumhare Mr. Chaudhary, Sonia's Father
Hum Tere Aashiq Hain Thakur Shamsher Singh
Lok Parlok Ram Shastri/Boston Strangler/
Raman Raghav/Ram Ghulam
Meera Badshah Akbar
Mr. Natwarlal Vikram Singh
Raakhi Ki Saugandh Jagganath 'Jagga'/Yahwar Pahwar Khan
Sarkari Mehmaan
Suhaag Vikram Kapoor
1980 Bombay 405 Miles Veer Singh
Chambal Ki Kasam
Jwalamukhi Daku Sher Singh
Khanjar Prince/Swamiji
Lahu Pukarega
Lootmaar Vikram
Pyaara Dushman
Qurbani Inspector Amjad Khan
Ram Balram Suleiman Seth
Yari Dushmani Birju
1981 Anusandhan
Barsaat Ki Ek Raat Kaliram H. Sahu
Chehre Pe Chehra Kanhus, Martha's brother
Commander Commander Singh
Dhuaan Sunil's boss
Gehra Zakhm
Hum Se Badkar Kaun Chandan/Bholaram
Jail Yatra Kuldeep
Kanhaiyaa Madhav Singh
Paanch Qaidi
Kaalia Shahani Seth/Jaswant
Katilon Ke Kaatil Black Cobra
Khoon Ka Rishta
Ladies Tailor Nawab Amjad Khan
Laawaris Ranvir Singh
Love Story Havaldar Sher Singh
Maan Gaye Ustaad Munna/Shera
Naseeb Damu (Damodar)
Plot No. 5
Professor Pyarelal Ronnie/Ranjit Singh/Gomes
Rocky Robert D'Souza
Shama Dargah devotee
Waqt Ki Deewar Thakur Ranvir Dayal Singh
Yaarana Bishan
Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai Sharif Khan/Sharafat Ali/Karamat Ali/
Salamat Ali/Wajahat Ali
1982 Satte Pe Satta Ranjit Singh
Baghawat Maharaj Durjan Singh/
Maharaj Vikram Singh
Daulat Joseph D'Souza/Tripathi
Desh Premee Thakur Pratap Singh
Dharam Kanta Chandan Singh/Jwala Singh
Samraat Ranbir
Teesri Aankh Jabbar Singh
Taqdeer Ka Badshah
Teri Maang Sitaron Se Bhar Doon Mohammed 'Sultan Bhai'/
Sultan Singh Rathod
1983 Achha Bura Mohammad Sher Khan/
Kamalrup Chaurasiya 'Shera'
Bade Dil Wala Bhagwat Singh (B.K.)/
Dr. Joshi
Chor Police Barkhi Khan
Himmatwala Sher Singh Bandookwala
Hum Se Hai Zamana Iqbal/Thakur's son
Humse Na Jeeta Koi Bheema Singh
Jaani Dost Hari/Nooruddin/Harry
Mahaan Vikram Singh
Nastik Tiger
1984 Bindiya Chamkegi Inspector Vijay A. Kumar
Tere Mere Beech Mei A film by Dada Kondke
Maati Maange Khoon Thakur Balram Singh
Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! Kundan Kapadia
Pet Pyaar Aur Paap
Utsav Vatsyayan
1985 Ameer Aadmi Gharib Aadmi Akram
Ee Lokam Ivide Kure Manushyar Abbas Malayalam film
Ek Daku Saher Mein Surjan Singh
Ek Se Bhale Do Balram/Bhima
Maa Kasam Chakradhari
Mera Saathi Ram Kumar's play character
Mohabbat Gamma Pehalwan
Pataal Bhairavi Vishvanath Chanchal
1986 Andheri Raat Mein Diya Tere Haath Mein Sultan
Chameli Ki Shaadi Advocate Harish
Jeeva Sardar
Love and God Kais' family servant
Mohabbat Ki Kasam Baseera Singh
Pahunchey Huwe Log
Peechha Karro Brigadier
Simhasanam Telugu film
Singhasan Kupateshwar Simhasanam in Telugu
Vikram Tamil film
Zindagani Bhola
1987 Ahsaan
Insaniyat Ke Dushman Pratap Singh
Jaago Hua Savera
Sitapur Ki Geeta Thakur Pratap Singh
1988 Bees Saal Baad Bhavani Baba
Do Waqt Ki Roti Tantia Bheel/Purshottam
Kabrastan Nepolean D'Costa
Kanwarlal John Jani Janardhan
Maalamaal Suleiman Dada
Paanch Fauladi Dilawar Khan, Fauladi No. 5
Qatil Badshah Akram Khan
The Perfect Murder Lala Heera Lal
1989 Dost Sher Singh
Khuli Khidki Dr. A.K. Jayant
Meri Zabaan Inspector Malpani/
Arjun Vaswani
Naqab Nawab Dada Sarkar
Santosh Qaidi No. 333
1990 Lekin... Shafi Ahmed Sidiqqui
Maha-Sangram Bada Ghoda
Pati Patni Aur Tawaif Sulaiman Dildar
1991 Love Guruji
Ramgarh Ke Sholay Gabbar Singh
Yaara Dildara
1992 Aasmaan Se Gira Alien ruler
Dil Hi To Hai Maharaj Vikram Garg
Ele, My Friend Omar
Saali Adhi Ghar Waali
Waqt Ka Badshah
Virodhi Judge
1993 Bechain
In Custody Babu's Musician English Film
Rudaali Thakur Ram Avtar, Lakhsman's father
Bannada Gejje Kannada film starring V Ravichandran
Prema Yudham Telugu film starring Nagarjuna Akkineni,
Remake of Bannada Gejje
1994 Do Fantoosh Bajrang
1995 Anokhi Chaal
1996 Aatank Alphonso
Sautela Bhai Thakur Narayandas


  1. ^ "Remember the old baddies?". MSN India. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Gabbar Singh". Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  3. ^ "Obituary: Amjad Khan". The Independent. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2015. The son of Zakira Khan, a Pathan from the North-West Frontier Province and popular Bollywood character actor of the Fifties and Sixties (screen name Jayant), Khan was born in Bombay in 1943. 
  4. ^ "Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan, Dilip Kumar and the Peshawar club". BBC News. 29 November 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Glucon D Bisuits Amjad Khan | Print Ads | MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share". 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  7. ^ "Zafar Karachiwala, Ahlam Khan got married - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 23 September 2011. 

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