Gabbar Singh (character)

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Gabbar Singh
Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh in Sholay
First appearance Sholay
Last appearance Ramgarh Ke Sholay
Created by Salim Khan
Javed Akhtar
Portrayed by Amjad Khan
Gender Male
Occupation Dacoit (Amjad Khan - Sholay)
Title Sardar
Nationality Indian

Gabbar Singh is a fictional character and the antagonist in the 1975 Hindi film Sholay[1][2] written by Salim-Javed, also later featured in the spoof Ramgarh Ke Sholay.

Played by Amjad Khan, he is shown in the movie Sholay as a dacoit who leads a group in looting and plundering the villages in the region of Ramgarh. He has a sadistic personality and insists on killing whenever required to continue his status and to take revenge on his enemies.[3][4][5] The character of Gabbar is one of the most popular in Indian films.[6]


Danny Denzongpa was the first choice of Gabbar but had to miss out because he was shooting for Dharmatma in Afghanistan.[7] Amjad Khan was almost dropped from the project because Javed Akhtar found his voice too weak for Gabbar Singh's role but was later convinced. For his preparation for the role Amjad read Abhishapth Chambal, a book on Chambal dacoits written by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri (actress Jaya Bhaduri's father).[8]

Style of speech[edit]

Gabbar's language was a mixture of North Indian Khariboli and Hindi, which was something new for the audiences so the dialogues were an instant hit and are still popular in India. Javed Akhtar says that Gabbar seemed to acquire life and vocabulary of his own as he wrote the film. His sadism lies in his choice of words like "Khurach, khurach (scratch)" when he talks to Hema Malini.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

Amjad shot to stardom with the movie. His mannerisms and dialogues have become an integral part of Bollywood lexicon.[10] Sholay went on to become a blockbuster, and is the highest grossing movie in India. Although the movie boasted an ensemble cast of superstars including Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan, he stole the thunder with his unorthodox and eerie dialogue delivery that was perfectly opposite to the total lack of empathy his character was supposed to convey. Even after thirty five years people fondly remember his dialogues and mannerisms.[11] He later appeared in advertisements as Gabbar Singh endorsing Britannia Glucose Biscuits (Popularly knowns as "Gabbar Ki Asli Pasand"), and it was the first incidence of a villain being used to sell a popular product. The role of Gabbar singh was so deep-rooted in people's mind those days that Amjad Khan was known rest of his life by this role alone and wherever he went he had to speak some dialogues from the film to amuse the public[12][13] because the dialogues are very popular among the audiences of Indian Cinema.[14]

In 2011, Amitabh Bachchan told a contestant his Kaun Banega Crorepati TV show that when Amjad Khan (a close friend of his), visited their home, his son Abhishek Bachchan ran to him and said papa, Gabbar singh aaya hai [meaning: Gabbar singh is here !!!], and Bachchan had to convince his son that Gabbar was just a character played by Khan.[15]

Gabbar Singh has been a subject of Parodies, jokes innumerable times in the popular Indian media.[16][16][17] Filmfare named Gabbar Singh the most iconic villain in the history of Indian cinema,[18]

In 2012 film Gabbar Singh The character has been referenced by the protagonist Venkataratnam Naidu, he nicknamed himself after Gabbar Singh's character.

In 2015 film Gabbar is Back, the protagonist Ajay Singh Rajput (portrayed by Akshay Kumar) resembling Gabbar Singh and he also nicknamed himself after Gabbar's character.[19]


  1. ^ Gulzar; Govind Nihalani; Saibal Chatterjee (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. pp. 388–. ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Kishore Valicha (1988). The moving image: a study of Indian cinema. Orient Longman. pp. 68–71. ISBN 978-0-86131-681-6. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Sahai, Dissanayake, Malti, Wimal (1992). Sholay, a cultural reading. Wiley Eastern. ISBN 81-224-0394-8. 
  4. ^ Baghel, Meenal. "Once upon a time in Ramgarh". Retrieved 5 December 1999.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Hogan, Patrick Colm (2008). Understanding Indian movies: culture, cognition, and cinematic imagination. University of Texas Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-292-72167-8. 
  6. ^ "'Sholay' completes 35 years". The Times of India. Aug 16, 2010. Retrieved Nov 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Danny Denzongpa's loss". Article. The Times of India. 30 August 2008. Retrieved Nov 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ Chopra, Anupama (2000). Sholay: The Making of a Classic. Penguin Books, India. ISBN 0-14-029970-X. 
  9. ^ Meenal Baghel (1999-12-05). "Once upon a time in Ramgarh". Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  10. ^ a b "80 Iconic Performances". Article. Filmfare. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Singh, Ruma (12 October 2006). "Tera kya hoga, Gabbar Singh?". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Amjad Khan — IMDb". 
  13. ^ Chopra, Anupama (2000). Sholay, The Making of a Classic. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-029970-0. 
  14. ^ "Lines that linger". Article. The Tribune. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Sujata Wankhade from Maharashtra on Hot Seat-Episode 35 - KBC 2011 - 12th Oct 2011". 
  16. ^ a b "Amjad Khan". 
  17. ^ "Kitne aadmi they? for the role of Gabbar Singh". 
  18. ^ Hashmi, Parampara Patil (3 May 2013). "Iconic villains of Indian cinema". Filmfare. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "After rowdy, Bhansali turns Akshay into Gabbar". Times of India. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 

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