Bollywood's grand old man A K Hangal passes away

Bollywood's grand old man A K Hangal passes away

Bollywood's distinguished character artist A K Hangal, who endeared himself to the audience by playing the role of the lovable old man in films like 'Sholay', 'Shaukeen' and 'Namak Haram', died today following a brief illness.

The 98-year-old actor, remembered for his role as Imam Chacha in the blockbuster 'Sholay', passed away at 9 AM at the Asha Parekh Hospital in suburban Santacruz in Mumbai where he was admitted on August 16 after fracturing his thigh bone.

A surgery was to take place, but doctors at the hospital called it off as he had several complications including chest problem, breathing and lung ailments.

Best known for his one-liner from blockbuster Sholay - 'Itna sannaata kyun hai bhai' (why so much silence is there), Hangal made his entry in Bollywood when he was in his 40s and went on to act in over 200 films.

"This is really a sad thing...now I am left all alone. I have no words to describe his loss," his son Vijay told PTI.

"He was a strong man...he has been a great support to me," he said.

Avtaar Veenit Kishan Hangal was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family in Sialkot (Pakistan) and came to the city of dreams – Mumbai - at the age of 21, with Rs 20 in his pocket.
He initially worked as a tailor and had customers like the Nawab of Pataudi and Britishers and was paid Rs 500 per month.

Known for his roles in films like 'Namak Haram', 'Sholay', 'Shaukeen', 'Aaina', ‘Bawarchi’ and others, Hangal played the role of father, uncle or friend to leading actors like Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bachchan, Sunny Deol and others.

He made an impressive mark as the old man who gets up and joins the troupe in the song 'Ghanan Ghanan' where he sang one line 'Kale Megha Kale Megha Pani To Barsao' in Aamir Khan starrer movie 'Lagaan'.

The actor, who was honoured with the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi cinema in 2006, was in the news last year for living a life in penury.

His son Vijay, a retired still cameraman in Bollywood, appealed for help after failing to meet Hangal's medical expenses. Several Bollywood celebrities like the Bachchans, producer-director Vipul Shah, and actors Mithun Chakraborty, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan came forward to help him.

Recently, he returned to face the studio lights after several years for TV series 'Madhubala'.

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