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Jagdish Raj always played an endearing policeman: Mahesh Bhatt

Says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt about veteran actor Jagdish Raj, who passed away at 85.
Hindustan Times | By Team HT cafe, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 30, 2013 05:31 PM IST

One of Hindi film’s most ubiquitous character actors, Jagdish Raj passed away on Sunday, July 28 due to a respiratory ailment. He was 85. The veteran, who was actor Anita Raj’s father, played a cop in most of his movies.

In fact, he even holds the Guinness World Record for being the most typecast actor and having played a police officer in 144 films. Reminisces filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, “Mr Jagdish Raj was part of the formative years of Hindi movies. I have memories of him working with my father. He always played an endearing policeman and it was on his sets that I first entered a cop van.”

Mahesh adds, “He had a warm persona, was an accessible human being and you felt comforted in his presence. He was an elderly man, but he never put you down with his seniority; in fact, he was always friendly with you. He never threw tantrums and was always a pleasure to meet.”

Born as Jagdish Raj Khurana in 1928 in Sargodha (now in Pakistan), the veteran actor, apart from playing a cop, also portrayed several other character roles such as that of a villain and a judge. He acted in various popular films such as Johny Mera Naam (1970), Deewar (1975), Don (1978), Shakti (1982) and Silsila (1981). Apparently, it was reported that his son-in-law Rakesh Malhotra said that the veteran actor had been in and out of hospital for about two years due to his respiratory illness.

Raj served the film industry for over 30 years, and is described by the people who know him as a warm human being. In his heyday, the actor worked with many noted directors from the industry, such as the late Yash Chopra and Chandra Barot, and shared screen space with popular actors such as Dev Anand and Amitabh Bachchan.

His memorable films

Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985)
Gopichand Jasoos (1982)
Silsila (1981)
Suhaag (1979)
Dream Girl (1977)
Deewar (1975)
Gambler (1971)
Johny Mera Naam (1970)
Hum Dono (1961)
Kala Bazaar (1960)

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