Avtar Kishan Hangal also identified as A.K. Hangal , the legend of Indian cinema. He is also popularly known as ‘Padmabhushan Avtar Kishan Hangal’, as he was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Indian Government for his remarkable work in Indian Cinema. A.K. Hangal has worked in more than 200 films from 1966 to 2005. This man was made for theatre, has anyone recognized it by his exceptional performance in Indian cinema.
A.K. Hangal the legend of Indian cinema was born on 1st February 1914 in Sialkot, Punjab India. He was born to Pandit Hari Kishan Hangal and Ragia Hundoo in a Kashmiri pandit family. He was the only brother of his two sisters named ‘Bishan’ and ‘Kishan’. His early life includes many ups and downs, as he was born before India got freedom. He worked as a tailor, it was his primary occupation.
A.K. Hangal was not only a legendary actor but also a freedom fighter. He had proved his love for his country through active participation in the freedom fight of India as a student. He participated in the protests in the North-West Frontier Province against the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. He had been to jail for three years for protesting against the British. He was a Marxist/Communist because of his principles he was jailed by the British government many times. His freedom fighter spirit fits correctly with his dialogue, “Socha ki marna hai toh ladhke marenge, paow taale kuchla ke kuy mare” in his movie.
His career journey was never simple. As he worked as a tailor in his early life he was always passionate about acting. In 1936 he joined a theatre group called Shri Sangeet Priya Mandal and was associated with the stage until 1946. He had a journey from Peshawar to Karachi to Mumbai because of work. He shifted to Mumbai after India Pakistan partitioned. As he was very passionate about acting he wanted to perform on stage no matter where he lived. He joined the theatre group IPTA in Mumbai. In the group IPTA, he worked with great people like actor Balraj Sahani and a great poet Kaifi Azmi. A renowned actor like him entered the Indian cinema at the age of 50. Despite of his age he has never disappointed the audience. He is one of the finest actors Indian cinema ever had. Though he was late in his acting career he was still a very good actor. He started his acting career through Basu Bhattacharya’s film ‘Teesri Kasam’ as Raj Kapoor’s elder brother. He has worked with many of the greatest actors of the 90s. He worked with Rajesh Khanna in the movie ‘Bawarji’ and in Amir khan’s movie ‘Lagan’. He worked even in the superhit blockbuster movie of the 90s that is ‘Sholay’. His dialogue from this movie got very famous back then and is still in the mouths of the youngsters of the 21st century, the dialogue was, “Itna sanata kuy hai bhai.” He worked as Imaam Saa’b also known as Rahim chacha in this movie.
From the 70s, 80s and 90s he had played amazing roles. He was a versatile actor who not only played supporting roles but also played positive and negative roles. He starred as a villain in the movies like ‘Manzil’ and ‘Prem Bandhan’, etc. Let it be the role of father, brother or villain he did his best in all of those roles. In his career span, he has done notable work in the movies like, ‘Aaina’ as Ram Shastri, ‘Shaukeen’ as Inder Sen, ‘Sholay’ as Imam Saab/ Rahim chacha, ‘Namak Haraam’ as Bipinlal Pandey and ‘Aandhi’ as Brinda Kaka. He was the golden actor that an Indian cinema ever had. A.K Hangal has worked with many popular actors in Indian Cinema He has done 16 films with the chocolate hero of Indian cinema Rajesh Khanna.
A.K. Hangal was a person of a golden heart. He was not only great at acting but was also a person with a humble personality. He was looked upon by many actors at his time. His son ‘Vijay Hangal’ was also interested in theatres. Vijay Hangal has worked as an actor and cameraman as he was interested in photography.
The legend A.K. Hangal had faced many health issues in his old years. He was financially deteriorating in his old age and was neglected by the media at that time. But when his fellow actors learned about his situation he received help from them. This shows that the person was pure gold at heart and many actors loved him as a person. A.K. Hangal died at the age of 98 on 26th August 2012. Surprised by his death Shabana Azmi wrote on Twitter, “An era comes to an end. Theatre and film were enriched by him”. Even today after so many years of his work, A.K. Hangal still remains inside the heart of many people and will always be remembered through his exceptional work.