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Asrani at the launch of It's Only Cinema magazine
Govardhan Asrani

(1940-01-01) 1 January 1940 (age 84)
Alma materSt Xavier's School, Jaipur;
Rajasthan College;
FTII, Pune
Occupation(s)Actor, producer
Years active1967-present
SpouseManju Asrani
AwardsFilmfare Award for Best Comedian

Govardhan Asrani[3] (born 1 January 1940), known popularly by mononym Asrani, is an Indian actor and director whose Bollywood career has spanned five decades. He has acted in over 350 Hindi films. Asrani has played the lead roles, character roles, comedic roles and supporting roles. He is best known for his role in Sholay as a jailer and characters he played in 25 films with Rajesh Khanna in lead role between 1972 and 1991.

In Hindi films, he played the comedian's role from 1966 to 2013 and played a supporting actor's role as the close friend of the lead hero in many films between 1972 and 1994. In a few Hindi films like Chala Murari Hero Banne and Salaam Memsaab, he played the main lead hero. In Gujarati films he played the lead hero from 1972 to 1984 and played character roles from 1985 to 2012. He also directed six films between 1974 and 1997.

Early life[edit]

Asrani was born into a middle-class, Sindhi family in Jaipur.[2] His father opened a carpet shop. He has four sisters and three brothers: two elder and one younger. Asrani was uninterested in business and 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.

He married actress Manju Bansal, with whom he fell in love while working together in films like Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar and Namak Haram. After they wed, the couple acted in Tapasya, Chandi Sona, Jaan-E-Bahaar, Jurmana, Nalayak, Sarkari Mehmaan, Narad Vivah and Chor Sipahee. In Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar, Asrani played Champak Boomia / Amit Desai and Manju played Kesari Desai. For this role Asrani won the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian.[4] Later the couple acted in Hum Nahin Sudhrenge, a home production directed by Asrani in 1980.[5]


He began to learn acting from Sahitya Kalbhai Thakkar from 1960 to 1962.[2] In 1962, he travelled to Mumbai 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 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 Gujarati movie opposite budding actress Waheeda (not Waheeda Rahman; the Hindi actress). He acted in four other movies, mainly as actor or supporting actor, in Gujarati from 1967 to 1969. He did not get many offers from the Hindi film industry between 1967 and 1969. His old advisor, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, then gave him the role of supporting actor in the film Satyakam in 1969. He got noticed then in the film Mere Apne. From 1971, he started getting more offers as the main comedian in films or as the close friend of the lead actor.

Directors like Mukherjee, Atma Ram, and Gulzar repeatedly cast him in the period 1971–1974, and his work got noticed through these films. These roles set the tone for a number of supporting and comic roles in his career. In the 1970s his demand was at its peak as he appeared in 101 films from 1970 to 1979. Though initially Rajesh Khanna and Asrani had met only on the sets of Bawarchi, they became close friends after Namak Haraam, after which for the role of comedian Khanna insisted the producers and directors make Asrani part of his films. Asrani worked in 25 films with Khanna from 1972 to 1991, from Bawarchi (1972) to Ghar Parivaar (1991).

His most memorable works as supporting actor from 1970 to 1979 are in Mere Apne, Koshish, Bawarchi, Parichay, Abhimaan, Mehbooba, Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein, Do Ladke Dono Kadke and 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 roles as a comedian from the 1970s 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 the supporting character in many films, he played a serious role for the first time in Khoon Pasina. He did off beat roles like that of the evil brother's role in Koshish (1972), the double role of a hippie and villager in LV Prasad's Bidaai (1974), a beedi and ganji sporting wastrel in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Chaitali (1975), a romantic in BR Chopra's Nikaah (1982) who sang a qawwali like yesteryear actor Yakub and played a pimp in KS Prakash Rao's Prem Nagar (1974).Later he played antagonist roles in Ab Kya Hoga and Teri Meherbaniyan.

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. Ramanaidu and those movies directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, B.R.Chopra, K. Bapaiah, Narayana Rao Dasari, K. Raghavendra Rao, Basu Chatterjee in 1972 to 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, Asrani directed his first movie in Gujarati with 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. "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 the record for appearing as a character actor/comedian in the most Hindi films in a decade – 101 in the 1970s and 107 in the 1980s. Unlike his roles in 1970 to 1984 which were pivotal to the plot, most of his roles from 1985 to 1993 were very minor mainly because the concept of a comedian was being phased out and heroes preferred to do their own comedy and action films were more popular in the period from 1985 to 1994. In the 1980s 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 and Biwi Ho To Aisi.

In the films produced by South Indian production houses films and those directed by T. Rama Rao, K. Raghavendra Rao, K. Bapaiah, Narayana Rao Dasari, the trio of Asrani-Kader Khan-Shakti Kapoor were regular from 1982 to 1998 and boosted the popularity of the trio.

In 1982, Asrani set up a small Gujarati 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. In the 1990s 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 a long time.

Simultaneously he kept working in Gujarati films in the 1970s and 1980s as a 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 the 1990s he played as a comedian or supporting actor in Gujarati films like Mota Ghar Ni Vahu, Piyu Gayo Pardesh, and Baap Dhamal Dikhra.

D. Ramanaidu gave a pivotal role to Asrani in Taqdeerwala in 1995 and once again comedy movies were being made from there on. Asrani started getting good roles in films directed by David Dhawan and Priyadarshan from 1993 until 2012. His most memorable performances as a comedian from the 1990s are in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Gardish, Taqdeerwala, Gharwali Baharwali, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and Hero Hindustani.

The 2000s saw Asrani in a number of films like Hera Pheri, Chup Chup Ke, Hulchul, Deewane Huye Paagal, Garam Masala, Malamaal Weekly, Bhagam Bhag, De Dana Dan, Bol Bachchan, and Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal. He appeared in a serious role in Kyun Ki. He was an integral part of comedies by Sajid Nadiadwala and Priyadarshan after 2000. His screen space in the films of Rohit Shetty and others were reduced gradually after 2009.

Asrani and Mallika Sherawat were the judges of the 18th annual Naya Andaz competition on 17 April 2010, in New Jersey.

Asrani in 2018 played the role of Mikesh's grandfather in the popular web series Permanent Roommates and even appeared in advertisement in 2019. He also played the role of DGP Director general of police in the serial Partners Trouble Ho Gayi Double.[6]

Asrani acted as Narada in the 1985 Doordarshan TV Serial Natkhat Narad. Some of his co-stars were Jayshree T. and Vikram Gokhale.

Selected filmography[edit]

As actor[edit]

Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
2023 Non Stop Dhamaal Jassu Bhai
Dream Girl 2 Yusuf Ali Salim Khan
2021 Bunty Aur Babli 2 Thehrey Singh
2020 It's My Life Father of Abhishek's friend
2018 Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir Se Nanu
2016 Permanent Roommates Mikesh's grandfather Web Series
Mastizaade Laila & Lily's father
Murari the Mad Gentleman Mukhia
2015 Sallu ki Shaadi
Dillagi... Yeh Dillagi
Ishq Ka Manjan Santa
2014 18.11 - A Code of Secrecy Habilder-Paholwan
2013 R.. Rajkumar Pandit
Himmatwala Ticket Checker
2012 Joker Master ji
Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal Priest
Bol Bachchan Shashtri
Agent Vinod Ramlal
2011 Bodyguard Shekhar
2010 Khatta Meetha Karodimal
Dus Tola Sarpanch
2009 Paying Guests Kiska Miglani
De Dana Dan Mamu
All The Best Vidya's father
2008 Karzzz College Principal
Billu Naubat Chacha
Yaariyan Punjabi film
2007 Welcome Producer Akhilendra Chandel
Bhool Bhulaiyaa Murari
Dhamaal Nari Contractor
Dhol Pankaj's brother-in-law
Fool & Final Lalwani
2006 Bhagam Bhag Event Manager
Malamaal Weekly Chokhey
Chup Chup Ke Sharma Ji
2005 Deewane Huye Paagal Blind Man
Garam Masala Mamu
Cages Leo English film
Elaan Kishorilal
Insaan Film Director
Kyon Ki Asylum patient
2004 Ek Se Badhkar Ek Don Srikant Ramprasad
Suno Sasurjee Murli
Ball & Chain Papa
Hulchul Advocate Mishra
2003 Mumbai Matinee Pyarelal
Baghban Bedi Sab (Sardar)
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
Lajja Gulab Chand
2000 Aaghaaz Gullu
Karobaar Champak
Chal Mere Bhai Family Doctor
Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa Company owner
Hera Pheri Bank Manager
Mela Kaka/Banwari Baniya
1999 Raja Kumarudu Policeman
Haseena Maan Jaayegi Jamnadas
International Khiladi Payal's Boss
Heeralal Pannalal Havaldar Chaurasia
Mother Johnny
1998 Mehndi Tolani
Hero Hindustani Cameroon
Haste Hasate
Bade Miyan Chote Miyan Security Officer
Dulhe Raja Inspector Azgar Singh
Gharwali Baharwali Dr. Ved
1995 Taqdeerwala Chitragupt
1993 Muqabla Soni's husband
Dil Tera Aashiq Natwar Lal
1992 Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar Dubeyji, Teacher
Police Officer Police Inspector Sharma
Laat Saab
1990 Aaj Ka Arjun Chikoo
Muqaddar Ka Badshaah Dhamdilal
1985 Teri Meherbaniyan Munim Banwarilal
1984 Yeh Ishq Nahin Aasaan Jamal
1983 Himmatwala Bhushan
1982 Nikaah Saif
1981 Aapas Ki Baat Bhola
Aas Paas Jaikishen
Ek Duuje Ke Liye G. Haribabu
Ek Hi Bhool Manohar Prasad M.P.
Kahani Ek Chor Ki Kantilal
Meri Aawaz Suno Bahadur
Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai Drunkard (Guest Appearance)
1980 Agreement Dilip Kanuchand
The Burning Train Col. P.K. Bhandari
Hum Nahin Sudhrenge
1979 Ahinsa
Baton Baton Mein Francis Fernandes
Dhongee Michael York
Do Hawaldar Bholaram
Do Ladke Dono Kadke Ramu
Hamare Tumhare Gauri Shankar
Jurmana Nandlal Chaturvedi
Love in Canada Bansi
Naalayak Lallu Kumar Lalla
Salaam Memsaab Sunder Director
Sargam Gopi
1978 Pati Patni Aur Woh Abdul Karim Durrani
Badalte Rishtey Anup Chandra Thakur
1977 Alaap Ganesh (Ganeshi)
Chala Murari Hero Banne Murari Director
Kalabaaz Changu
1976 Tapasya Vinod Sinha
Balika Badhu Sharat
1975 Mili Drunkard (Guest Appearance)
Chhoti Si Baat Nagesh
Rafoo Chakkar Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi
Sholay Jailor
Chupke Chupke Prashant Shrivastav
1974 Bidaai Murli/Bhaskar
Ajnabee Chetan Kumar
Aap Ki Kasam Dr. Ghad-Ghad Singhwala
1973 Namak Haraam Dhondu, Shyama's brother
Abhimaan Chander Kripalani
Anamika Hanuman Singh
1972 Parichay Narayan
Bawarchi Vishwanath Sharma/Babbu
Seeta Aur Geeta Laughing Doctor
Koshish Kanu
Piya Ka Ghar
1971 Mere Apne Raghunath
Guddi Kundan
1969 Satyakam Peter
1967 Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan Tripathi
1966 Hum Kahan Ja Rahe hain College student

As director[edit]

Year Title Language
1974 Amdavad No Rikshawalo Gujarati
1977 Chala Murari Hero Banne Hindi
1979 Salaam Memsaab
1980 Hum Nahin Sudhrenge
1992 Dil Hi To Hai
1997 Udaan


Year Title Song Notes
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

Awards and nominations[edit]

Filmfare Awards
Year Film Category Result
1974 Abhimaan Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar Best Performance in a Comic Role Won
Namak Haraam Nominated
1975 Chor Machaye Shor Nominated
Bidaai Nominated
1976 Rafoo Chakkar Nominated
Sholay Nominated
1977 Chhoti Si Baat Nominated
Balika Badhu Won
1979 Pati Patni Aur Woh Nominated
1980 Sargam Nominated
1981 Hum Nahi Sudherenge Nominated
1982 Ek Duuje Ke Liye Nominated
  • 1973 – Shama Sushama Award for Best Comedian for Anhonee
  • 1986 – Best Actor and Best Director Award from Gujarat State Government for Saat Qaidi, a Gujarati film.[1]

As voice artist[edit]

Asrani lent his voice for the character Zazu in The Lion King (2019 film) in the Hindi language audio.


  1. ^ a b Asrani - Bollywood Actor - Comedian From Pink City Jaipur Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Rajasthantour4u.com.
  2. ^ a b c Govardhan Asrani: Sindhi Comedian: Biography: Filmography of Asrani: Film Fare Award: Sholey Archived 9 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Thesindhuworld.com.
  3. ^ Seyller, John (2003), "Govardhan", Oxford Art Online, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.t033867, ISBN 9781884446054, retrieved 12 December 2022
  4. ^ Asrani Awards, List Of Awards Won By Asrani Archived 12 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Gomolo.com.
  5. ^ List of Asrani & Manju Bansal movies together Archived 26 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Gomolo.com.
  6. ^ "Johnny Lever to return to small screen after ten years with upcoming comedy show Partners". Firstpost. 31 October 2017. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2020.

External links[edit]