Bollywood's 'senior citizen' is no more

Late bloomer: A K Hangal is remembered for his line in Sholay, Itna sannata kyun hain bhai

Bollywood's 'senior citizen' is no more

Bollywood’s ‘grand old man’ and freedom fighter A K Hangal passed away on Sunday morning at a suburban hospital here following a prolonged illness due to old age.
Hangal, 95, is survived by 75-year-old son Vijay Hangal.

Avtar Kishan Hangal was popular in tinsel town for his powerful performances. In his last days, he was suffering from multiple age-related problems and was put on life-support system on Saturday after he fell in a bathroom and suffered femur bone fracture.

Late on Saturday night, the life-support system was removed as the chances of survival had come to nil following the collapse of both lungs.

The favourite actor of Bollywood was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family in Sialkot, grew up in Peshawar, both the places now in Pakistan, and was very active in freedom struggle.
Hangal juggled his time between politics, stage and tailoring profession while he was in Karachi.

He moved to Mumbai where he set up a tailoring business. However, his main occupation became theatre after he joined Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) where he was inspired by stalwarts like late actor Balraj Sahani and poet and lyricist Kaifi Azmi.

Though he was associated with performance for a long time, Hangal entered silver screen only in his fifties, something which sets him apart from the present-day actors.

He created a niche for himself with ‘Teesri Kasam’ and ‘Shaagird’ and in his sixties, emerged as an outstanding actor of subtle but nuanced performances. From seventies till the late nineties, Hangal made his mark as an actor in both low-budget films like 'Chit Chor,' 'Namak Haram,' 'Bawarchi,' and block busters like 'Sholay,' 'Avtaar' and others. He was honoured with Padma Bhushan award in 2006.

However, for the past one decade, Hangal kept himself away from the camera lens and stage most of the time.

Though only a handful of actors attended his funeral held at Vile Parle Crematorium on Sunday afternoon, it is reassuring to know that Hangal's hospitalisation and treatment were taken care by the film industry and the state government.

Remembering a legend

“A K Hangal no more. An era comes to an end. Theatre and films were enriched by him.”
Shabana Azmi, actress

“A K Hangal. Lifetime dedicated to the art of acting in theatre. Will always be remembered by his films.”

Shekhar Kapur, filmmaker

“Hangal had given all his time and resources to theatre, films and social service, doing nothing for himself”.

Jitendra Raghuvanshi,
National General Secretary, Indian People’s Theatre Association

“The Marathon Man of Hindi Cinema reaches the final winning post. We will miss you Hangal Saab. RIP.”
Anupam Kher, actor

“Adieu Hangal Saab! What an innings!!!”
Mahesh Bhat,
filmmaker


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