The story behind this villain from the 90s who fought Salman Khan, trained Sanjay Dutt
Seated on a windowsill wearing a black jacket, matching jeans and shades, you could easily mistake the actor of Irish descent in Mahesh Bhatt’s Sadak (1991) as Sylvester Stallone from Cobra (1986). The man here is Gavin Packard, who played the villain, Maharani’s (played by late Sadashiv Amrapurkar) right hand man.
During Sadak, you are waiting for his face-off with the movie’s hero, Sanjay Dutt. And then it happens. Sensing her mortality as Sanjay closes in on her, Maharani summons Gavin’s character, saying, “Aye side hero, dekh tera baap aaya hai. Isi din ke liyei tere ko paala posa tha. Aaja.”
Gavin goes shirtless, and you see his spectacularly chiseled body, so much better than the almost Coke bottle like identical bodies you see everyone in Bollywood sporting nowadays. He and Sanjay have their final encounter in a water-filled godown that appears from nowhere, ‘inspired’ - of course - by a fight scene from the Van Damme movie Cyborg (1989).
But why the sudden nostalgia? Well, Mahesh Bhatt had recently announced that he would be returning to the director’s chair with Sadak 2, slated for a 2020 release, which shall star Sanjay Dutt, Pooja Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur and Alia Bhatt.
Pooja and Sanjay were the lead pair in the original Sadak, which was about a taxi driver who is trying to rescue the girl he loves from a brothel. What remains to be seen, however, is who will play the iconic role of Maharani, and her henchman, which was portrayed by Gavin.
Apart from Gavin, the only other foreigner who made a mark as a villain in Bollywood was Bob Christo (1938-2011), who was the go-to bad guy for every director in the 80s, and starred in hits such as Kaalia (1981), Mard (1985) and Mr India (1987).
Packard, who died in 2012, acted in around 60 Bollywood films as well as Malayalam film industry. He was a national and state award-winning bodybuilder and trained Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty and Shera, Salman Khan’s bodyguard.+ +
He is survived by his two daughters, Erika Packard and Kamille Kyla Packard. We spoke to Erika, a model and a show host, about her memories of him.+ + + +
“My sister and me used to always think he was superman. I used to always get irritated because he would always play the bad guy. I loved him in Sadak and also in Karan Arjun (1995) when he was fighting with Salman,” says Erika, remembering her father fondly. She is at present hosting a show, Twinning, on AXN.
In fact, Sanjay Dutt is her sister Kamille’s godfather, and it was Gavin who had introduced Sanjay to bodybuilding. Before leaving, we would like to leave you with this video of Gavin playing the comic and cartoon hero, He Man, in a movie’s song. The 80’s sure were interesting times for Hindi cinema.
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