Off screen, AK Hangal loved telling tales
News about his ill-health had been floating for a while, so one was expecting this, considering age had invaded his being. He was too frail towards the end. But still, it is painful to know that someone you loved and respected so much is not there with you anymore.
I don’t have to assert, but it is undeniably a great loss to the film industry.
AK Hangal Saab was a man of indomitable spirit, great ideals and someone who was passionate about everything till his last breath.
Hangal Saab played the famous role of Rahim Chacha in my film Sholay. Like every character and dialogue in the film, his dialogues too became iconic.
Hangal Saab was perfect for the role as he had an impeccable good man’s look. Casting him felt right all through.
His frailty, ideals and beliefs came through on his face, which had a serene and gentle quality.
I especially like the scene where his character discovers that his son has been killed and the emotions that pour out in dialogue, ‘Baap ke khandhon pe bete ka janaza sabse bada bojh hota hai’ (a father carrying his son’s body is the biggest burden).
And his other dialogue in the film, ‘Itna sannaata kyun hai bhai’ (Why is it so quiet?) also became iconic. Hangal Saab will always be counted as one of the important characters in Sholay.
The secular aspect in his character was well conveyed through his emotions, which were so effortless.
Off screen, he loved telling tales and would always come up with interesting and remarkable nuggets about his experiences, especially India’s freedom fight which he was a part of.
I also worked with him in Sagar, where he played a lighthouse guard. After the edit, not much of his role was left. We had to let go of some really lovely scenes.
In the last few years, we kept in touch. He was a vibrant theatre personality who people lovingly remembered. His work was so impactful that one can never forget him. He lived a long and happy life mostly.
The last couple of years, though, were hard and difficult for him. I wish he finds everlasting happiness. I will always cherish the moments we spent together. May his soul rest in peace.The writer is director and producer of Hindi film
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