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A. K. Hangal
Hangal in 2011
Avtar Kishan Hangal

(1914-02-01)1 February 1914[1]
Died26 August 2012(2012-08-26) (aged 98)
Other namesPadmabhushan Avtar Krishna Hangal
Years active1929–1947 (freedom fighter), 1936–1965 (theater actor), 1965–2005 (film career), 1980–2012 (television career)
Notable workRam Shastri in Aaina
Inder Sen in Shaukeen
Imaam Saa'b in Sholay
Bipinlal Pandey in Namak Haraam
Brinda Kaka in Aandhi

Avtar Kishan Hangal (1 February 1914 – 26 August 2012)[2] was an Indian freedom fighter and actor.[3][4][5] His most notable roles are as Ram Shastri in Aaina (1977), as the Inder Sen in Shaukeen, as Bipinlal Pandey in Namak Haraam, as Imaam Saa'b in Sholay, as Anokhelal in Manzil and the antagonist in Prem Bandhan and the 16 films he did with Rajesh Khanna.[6] He has acted in around 225 Hindi films in a career spanning from 1966 to 2005.[7]

Early life

Avtar Kishan Hangal was born in Sialkot in the Punjab Province of British India (now in Punjab, Pakistan) into a Kashmiri Pandit family,[2] he spent his childhood and youth in Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province where he had performed in theatre for some major roles. His family home was inside Reti Gate as mentioned in his memoirs. His father's name was Pandit Hari Kishan Hangal. His mother's name was Ragia Hundoo. He had two sisters. Bishan and Kishan. He was married to Manorma Dar from Agra.[8] However, his primary occupation for the early part of his life was that of a tailor.[9] He was an active participant in the Indian freedom struggle from 1929 to 1947. He joined Shree Sangeet Priya Mandal, a theatre group in Peshawar in 1936 and continued to act in many plays in undivided India till 1946.[10] Following his father's retirement, the family moved from Peshawar to Karachi. He moved to Bombay after the Partition of India in 1949 after 3 years in prison in Pakistan. He was involved with the theatre group IPTA along with Balraj Sahni and Kaifi Azmi, both of whom had Marxist leanings. He was jailed because he was a communist[5] in Karachi for two years from 1947 to 1949 and after his release came to India and settled in Mumbai.[11] He later acted in many plays in theatres in India from 1949 to 1965.[citation needed]

Hindi cinema career

He started his Hindi film career at the age of 52 with Basu Bhattacharya's Teesri Kasam in 1966 and Shagird, and went on to play as the man of principles playing the on-screen father or uncle of the leading men/women in the films in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, or sometimes the quintessential meek and oppressed old man. His pivotal roles in the films such as Chetan Anand's Heer Raanjha, Namak Haraam, Shaukeen (1981), Sholay, Aaina (1977), Avtaar, Arjun, Aandhi, Tapasya, Kora Kagaz, Bawarchi, Chhupa Rustam, Chitchor, Balika Badhu, Guddi and Naram Garam are considered to be among his best. He, as a character actor was part of 16 films with Rajesh Khanna as the lead hero, like Aap Ki Kasam, Amar Deep, Naukri, Prem Bandhan, Thodisi Bewafaii, Phir Wohi Raat, Kudrat, Aaj Ka M.L.A. Ram Avtar, Bewafai until Sautela Bhai in 1996.[6] His best performances in his later years was in Shararat (2002) his character roles in Tere Mere Sapne (1997) and Lagaan. In movies he has played a very large number of character roles, mostly positive, with rare exceptions where his negative roles became famous, like in Manzil and Prem Bandhan. He also acted in a NFDC film, DATTAK (The Adopted), directed by Gul Bahar Singh in 2001. Producer Debika Mitra had signed Madan Puri for Inder Sen's role, but a friend advised that A. K. Hangal would be a better choice. The superlative performance went on to become one of the most cherished acts of Hangal.

On 8 February 2011, Hangal 'walked' the ramp in a wheelchair for fashion designer Riyaz Ganji for his summer line in Mumbai.[12]

Hangal made his last appearance in the television series Madhubala – Ek Ishq Ek Junoon in May 2012, in which he had a cameo.[13] Madhubala – Ek Ishq Ek Junoon was a tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema. The episode that featured Hangal aired on 1 June at 22:00 on Colors.[14] In the early 2012, Hangal also gave his voice for the character of King Ugrasen in the animation film Krishna Aur Kans which was released on 3 August 2012. This was final work in his career before his death.[citation needed] His portrayal of Ugrasen was much appreciated by critics.[15]


The government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi Cinema in 2006.[16][17]

Health and financial issues

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Hangal, who had more than 200 films to his credit in a career that spanned nearly five decades, due to his old age post 2007 found it difficult to meet his medical expenses. His son Vijay, a retired cameraman and former Bollywood photographer, himself is 75 and has not had a full-time job since 2001. As a result, the family had financial difficulties. Though previously Vijay would take up small jobs, but later he suffered from back problems and was unable to work. After 2007, Hangal has been suffering from an illness[which?] and could not afford the treatment. At this point, following a media spotlight on 20 January 2011, many film stars and directors[who?] promised to help him financially. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also pledged to assist the veteran actor. Before that, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists visited Hangal at his home and offered him medical and financial help. They also provided revitalization of memories of veteran's work and made media report it. Upon asking, Raj Thackeray expressed his concerns towards such actors who are neglected in their old age.

The actor had last shot for Amol Palekar's film, Paheli in 2005. In fact, he had not gone out of his house for the last eight months. "We were surprised to see him get out of home. He would have done it only for acting," said his son Vijay and added, "My father had remained at home for the past few months. The show producer Saurabh Tiwari and senior executives from the channel came to our place to offer him the role. Several filmmakers had approached him in the last few years. But father did not take those up due to health issues."

A. K. Hangal returned to face the studio lights after seven long years. Having reached the sets of a TV Series Madhubala - Ek Ishq Ek Junoon on a wheelchair, the then 97-year-old actor wasn't sure he would be able to handle it physically. But once the cameras started rolling, there was no stopping the actor within.

Freedom fighter

Hangal participated in the Indian freedom movement when as a student, he joined protests in the North West Frontier Province against the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh.[18] He later moved to Karachi, where he spent three years in prison for protesting against British rule.[19]


Hangal was admitted to the Asha Parekh Hospital in Santa Cruz, Mumbai on 16 August 2012,[20][21][22] three days after he fractured his thigh bone from a fall in his bathroom. His son said that he went to the hospital as he had "suffered a back injury and had to undergo a surgery. But that could not take place as later it was found that he has chest and breathing problems." On 26 August, he was put on life support. Dr Vinod Khanna, an orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital said: "He is on life support system. One of his lungs is not functioning. He is also having respiratory problems." But, his condition worsened and he died on the same day, at the age of 98. His cremation was held the next afternoon at Pavan Hans crematorium.

In reaction to his death, Shabana Azmi wrote on Twitter: "An era comes to an end. Theatre and film were enriched by him."[23] The Communist Party of India described Hangal as a committed social and political activist who withstood the Shiv Sena onslaught.[24] The BJP's L. K. Advani and Nitin Gadkari also condoled his death.[25]



Year Title Role Notes
1966 Teesri Kasam Raj Kapoor's elder brother
1967 Shagird Kedarnath Badri Narayan
1968 Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein[26] Sonadas Doleria
1969 Saat Hindustani Doctor
1969 Sara Akash Mr. Thakur
1969 Dharti Kahe Pukarke
1970 Heer Raanjha Court Maulvi
1971 Guddi Guddi's father
1971 Nadaan Seema's father
1971 Anubhav Hari
1971 Mere Apne College Principal
1972 Bawarchi Ramnath Sharma (Munna)
1972 Jawani Diwani College Principal
1972 Parichay Ravi's maternal uncle
1973 Daag: A Poem of Love Prosecuting Attorney / Judge
1973 Chhupa Rustam Professor Harbanslal
1973 Rocky Mera Naam Reeta's Father
1973 Abhimaan Sadanand
1973 Joshila Lala Gulzarilal
1973 Namak Haraam Bipinlal Pandey
1973 Sweekar Dr. Verma
1973 Heera Panna Diwan Karan Singh
1973 Anamika Shiv Prasad
1973 Garm Hava Ajmani Sahab, A Sindhi trader
1974 Nirmaan Advocate
1974 Aap Ki Kasam Kamal's Father
1974 Do Nambar Ke Amir Devakinandan Sharma
1974 Kora Kagaz Principal Gupta
1974 Doosri Sita Masterji - Babulal Wagle
1974 Trimurti Jagannath
1974 Bidaai Ramsharan
1974 Us Paar Mohan's father
1974 Ishq Ishq Ishq Guruji
1974 Garm Hava
1975 Deewaar Chander's Father
1975 Aandhi Brinda kaka
1975 Anokha Hridaynath
1975 Sholay Imaam Saheb / Rahim Chacha
1975 Salaakhen Ram Lal, Seema's father
1976 Zid
1976 Sankoch Gurucharan
1976 Balika Badhu Masterji
1976 Zindagi Doctor
1976 Tapasya Chandranath Sinha
1976 Raees
1976 Mera Jiwan Medical college dean
1976 Jeevan Jyoti Raja Kamlakar
1976 Chitchor Pitamber Choudhry
1976 Aaj Ka Ye Ghar Dinanath
1977 Immaan Dharam Masterji, Shyamlee's Father
1977 Aaina Ram Shastri
1977 Alaap Pandit Jamuna Prasad Guest Appearance
1977 Mukti Colonel
1977 Chala Murari Hero Banne Murari's Father
1977 Paheli Masterji
1977 Kalabaaz Poojary
1977 Aafat
1978 Jogi
1978 Badalte Rishtey Professor
1978 Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime Bansi, Rupa's uncle
1978 Besharam Ramchandra
1978 Naukri Ranjit's Father
1978 Des Pardes Pujari
1978 Tumhare Liye Bhavani
1978 Swarg Narak Geeta's Father
1978 Chakravyuha Nandita's Father
1979 Prem Bandhan
1979 Inspector Eagle Anthony Pinto
1979 Jurmana Pandit Prabhakar Chaturvedi / Nandlal's Mamaji
1979 Meera Saint Raidas
1979 Khandaan Masterji, Usha's father
1979 Manzil Anokhelal
1979 Ladke Baap Se Badke Principal, St. Andrew's High School
1979 Zulm Ki Pukar
1979 Ratnadeep
1979 Amar Deep Ramu kaka
1980 Kali Ghata Deewaan
1980 Kashish Ramesh's father
1980 Thodisi Bewafaii Arvind Kumar Choudhary
1980 Phir Wohi Raat Vishwanath
1980 Neeyat Dinanath
1980 Humkadam Raghunath Gupta
1980 Hum Paanch Pandit
1980 Judaai Narayan Singh, Gauri's father
1981 Krodhi Masterji, Kumar's father
1981 Naram Garam Vishnuprasad / Masterji
1981 Kalyug Bhisham Chand
1981 Kudrat Billi Ram
1981 Baseraa Sharda's father
1981 Kahani Ek Chor Ki
1981 Nai Imarat Pyarelal
1981 Kal Hamara Hai
1981 Bhaaya
1982 Saath Saath Professor Chaudhary
1982 Shriman Shrimati Vishwanath Gupta
1982 Bemisal Dr. Ramnarayan Goyal Guest Appearance
1982 Shaukeen Inder Sen / Anderson
1982 Dil... Akhir Dil Hai Ashok Mehta
1982 Khud-Daar Rahim Chacha
1982 Star Mr. Verma
1982 Swami Dada Swami Satyanand
1983 Suzanne
1983 Avtaar Rashid Ahmed
1983 Naukar Biwi Ka Sharma, Sheela's father
1984 Sardaar Baba
1984 Aaj Ka M.L.A. Ram Avtar Tripathi
1984 Sharaabi Meena's Blind Father
1984 Alcoholic Meena's Blind Father
1984 Yaadon Ki Zanjeer ShambhuNath
1984 Kamla Kakasaab, Sarita's uncle
1984 Kahan Tak Aasmaan Hai
1984 Bandh Honth
1985 Saaheb Doctor
1985 Pighalta Aasman Masterji, Anuradha's father
1985 Arjun Mr. Malvankar
1985 Bewafai Harihar Nath
1985 Ram Teri Ganga Maili Brij Kishore
1985 Surkhiyaan (The Headlines) Shera's father
1985 Saagar Baba (in the lighthouse)
1985 Meri Jung Advocate Gupta
1986 Ek Chadar Maili Si Hazur Singh, Trilok's father
1986 Waapsi
1986 New Delhi Times Vikas' father
1987 Su-Raaj
1987 Jalwa Jojo's father
1987 Dacait Bighu chacha
1987 Satyamev Jayate Mr. Shastri
1987 Sindoor Pandit Uncredited
1987 Jaan Hatheli Pe
1987 Mera Yaar Mera Dushman
1987 Jaago Hua Savera
1988 Khoon Bhari Maang Ramu kaka
1988 Aakhri Adaalat Retired Judge Kapoor
1989 Apne Begaane
1989 Ilaaka School master, Vidya's father
1989 Abhimanyu Shyam Lal
1989 Mamata Ki Chhaon Mein Acharya
1990 Police Public Ram Swarup
1991 Farishtay Abdul
1991 Dushman Devta Suraj's Father
1992 Meera Ka Mohan Pujari
1992 Apradhi Vishembar Nath
1992 Laat Saab Dinanath / D'Mello
1993 Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja
1993 Khalnayak Shaukat Bhai
1993 Jaagruti Raghunath
1994 Dilwale Inmate
1995 Ghar Ka Kanoon
1995 Live Today
1995 Kismat Nanaji
1996 Sautela Bhai Bindiya's maternal grandfather
1996 Tere Mere Sapne Dattabhau
1998 Zor: Never Underestimate the Force
1998 Main Solah Baras Ki
1998 Yeh Aashiqui Meri Mr. Joshi
1999 Thakshak Homeless teacher
2001 Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India Shambu kaka
2001 Dattak The Adopted Babu ji
2002 Shararat Gajanan Desai
2003 Kahan Ho Tum Ghanshyamji, Jai's grandfather
2004 Hari Om Old Man
2004 Dil Maange More Himself
2005 Sab Kuch Hai Kuch Bhi Nahin Narayan Prasad
2005 Paheli Jeevraj
2005 Mr Prime Minister
2008 Humsey Hai Jahaan
2012 Krishna Aur Kans Ugrasen Voice, (final film role)

TV series

Year Title Role Notes
1986 Darkness TV mini-series
1986 Masterpiece Theatre: Lord Mountbatten – The Last Viceroy Vallabhbhai Patel TV mini-series
1988 Jeevan Rekha TV series
1993 Zabaan Sambhalke Cameo in one episode
1996 Chandrakanta Parichand An old man role
1997 Betaal Pachisi Baba
1997 Bombay Blue Saraswami Giri Episode #1.3
1998 Aahat Death Episodes: "Jeevan Mrityu Part I and II"
2004–2005 Hotel Kingston Cameo
2012 Madhubala - Ek Ishq Ek Junoon Himself Special appearance



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  3. ^ "An actor, artiste and activist". Retrieved 27 August 2012.
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  12. ^ "A. K. Hangal on the ramp". 8 February 2011. Archived from the original on 12 February 2011.
  13. ^ "Hangal saab made 'Madhubala' special for us: Saurabh Tewari". The Times of India. 27 August 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
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  17. ^ "Veteran actor A.K. Hangal dead | Reuters". 26 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
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  19. ^ "Bollywood's 'grand old man' AK Hangal dies". 20 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  20. ^ "Veteran actor AK Hangal passes away in Mumbai". BengalNewz. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
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