Multi-talented Kader Khan’s extra-ordinary journey in Bollywood

Kader Khan, part of some of the biggest hits of 80s and 90s (with Govinda) died in Toronto at the age of 81. Let’s take a look at his journey in Bollywood.

Update: Khadar Khan to be honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri (Posthumous-Foreigner).

Kader Khan was born in Kabul (Afghanistan) and worked as a professor of civil engineering before getting into showbiz. Kader Khan’s talent was first spotted by legendary actor Dilip Kumar when he was performing in a play for his college’s Annual Day function.

Kader Khan began his journey in Bollywood as a back-end writer giving shape to storylines. Over time, Kader Khan worked as an actor, scriptwriter, dialogue writer; he played 300 roles as an actor and has writing credits in over 250 films.

  • Kader Khan made his debut as a writer in 1972 with the Jaya Bhaduri-Randhir Kapoor film Jawani Diwani (known for its fantastic music by RD Burman).
  • In 1973, Kader Khan made his acting debut with Rajesh Khanna-Sharmila Tagore’s Daag (did the supporting role of a lawyer).
  • He did several supporting roles in Dil Diwana, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Mr Natwarlal before evolving as a performer with impeccable comic timing.
  • Kader Khan wrote the screenplay and dialogues in blockbuster films such as Amar Akbar Anthony and Shola Aur Shabnam.
  • After Salim-Javed parted ways, Kader Khan penned the dialogues and wrote for Amitabh Bachchan in hits like Sharaabi, Lawaaris, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Naseeb and Agneepath.

Kader Khan was instrumental in boosting Govinda’s career as well. Kader Khan wrote the dialogues and screenplay for Coolie No 1, Raja Babu and Saajan Chale Sasural. Director David Dhawan, actor Govinda and actor-writer Kader Khan gave several hit comedies in the 90s. Besides writing, Kader Khan also acted in most of the films with David Dhawan and Govinda. Kader Khan, featured in hits lie Kishen Kanhaiya, Bol Radha Bol, Aankhen, Coolie No 1, Hero No 1, Dulhe Raja, and many more.

Best Comedy scenes of Kader Khan

“The film industry has not given him what he deserved. Woh raja tha… pen aur acting se kya kamaal karta tha. He deserved to get a Padmashri award, but did not. He has also got [limited] awards from Bollywood. At a point, the South film industry was in his pocket. Every producer wanted to sign him. When he would land at the airport, four to five cars, full of producers, would be waiting for him,” says David Dhawan, whose first film with him was Bol Radha Bol (1992) and last film was Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004).

While Kader Khan never officially retired but, he started getting fewer roles. His last appearance on screen was in 2017 in the forgotten film Masti Nahi Sasti, and was somewhat lost in oblivion. Kader Khan was still keen to to make a comeback as a writer but even that did not materialize. “As a writer, I feel that I should come back. I’ll try my best to bring the earlier zubaan (language) back and people are definitely going to enjoy talking in that zubaan”.

“Some people refused to keep me with them. I was a little unwell. And people refused to take me back into their films”

Finding Mumbai no longer appealing, Kader Khan moved to Toronto to be with his son, where he breathed his last on Dec 31, 2018. Khan died after a prolonged illness at a hospital in Toronto in Canada.

Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha urged the film industry to take better care of its artistes so that they don’t feel neglected.

“Why was he in Canada during the time of his death? Kader Khan has given so much to our entertainment industry…There is a lesson to be learnt from Kader Khan’s death in a foreign country. We need to take better care of our artistes so that they don’t feel neglected.”

“Kader Khan was one of the pillars of Bollywood. He was not just an excellent actor but also an outstanding writer. Both Amitabh and I were very closely associated with him. Whenever I met him he regaled me with his intellectual mind and deep study of commercial Indian cinema. I don’t think there can be another Kader Khan ever.”

During a recent interview, Kader Khan had thanked his fans and Bollywood colleagues for proposing his name for a Padma Shri award. However, when he was told about the names of the awardees, the actor hinted that “flattering” the movers and shakers could be one of the reasons behind his colleagues getting the honour, “… it’s good that they did not give me a Padma Shri. I have neither flattered anyone in my life, nor will I ever. I don’t want these awards if they have been given to people (in the industry) who got it this time.”

“An award is a no big thing, but its importance lies in the people it has been conferred upon. Earlier, there was a certain honesty in these awards but it’s not the same case now. People have now forgotten to respect others and have become way too selfish.”

Kader Khan was also not in favour of Bollywood actors joining politics. “I would like to urge all the actors to return from the politics. ‘Laut aao, politics tumhari manzil nahi hai’ (Return back, politics is not your destination). It is only breaking you.”