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Mehar Mittal, legend of comedy in Punjabi movies, passes away

Dadasaheb Phalke award winner and veteran Punjabi actor Mehar Mittal passed away in Mount Abu on Saturday.

punjab Updated: Oct 22, 2016 22:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mehar Mittal,Veteran Punjabi actor,Dadasaheb Phalke award
Mehar Mittal.(HT File Photo)

Veteran Punjabi actor Mehar Mittal, who acquired legendary status with his comic roles, passed away at a hospital in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, on Saturday after prolonged illness. He was to turn 81 on October 24.

Born at Chughe Khurd village in Bathinda in 1935, Mittal was a staple for Punjabi movies for decades. He worked in more than 100 movies and ruled the screen for over three decades when almost every Punjabi movie featured him.

He did his matriculation from Bathinda. After completing his LLB from Panjab University in 1964, he practised law for around eight years in Chandigarh. He acted in Ramlilas and plays before moving into Punjabi movies. He was honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award among other honours.

His debut movie was ‘Maa Da Ladla’ in 1969 after which he also featured in ‘Sacha Mera Roop Hai’, ‘Qurbani Jatt Di’, ‘Chann Pardesi’, ‘Santo Banto’, ‘Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladaun’, ‘Putt Jattan De’ and ‘Babul Da Vehra’ to name a few.

In his later life, the actor chose to follow the spiritual path. Mittal joined the Brahma Kumaris movement around 10 years ago and had settled down at Mount Abu, the movement’s headquarters.

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Remembering the “king of comedy”, Mittal’s childhood friend and batchmate in LLB at Panjab University PD Goyal said: “He was fond of acting from his childhood days. He started acting in Ramlilas and got recognition as a comedy artiste. After matriculation, he did the junior basic teacher course and started teaching. He pursued Bachelor of Arts as a private candidate and then got admission to the LLB course in Chandigarh. We worked together to make his first movie ‘Maa Da Ladla’. The movie did well and gave Mittal recognition as a comedy artiste.”

Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal and Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh expressed grief and sorrow over Mittal’s demise. Badal said: “With Mittal’s death, a void has been created in Punjabi culture and film industry, which was difficult to be filled.”

Amarinder described his demise as a loss not only for the bereaved family but also the Punjabi entertainment industry.

Aam Aadmi Party state convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich ‘Ghuggi’, who is also an actor known for his comic roles, said: “Mehar Mittal ji was an asset for the Punjabi theatre and his demise is a great loss to the art world.”

First Published: Oct 22, 2016 16:45 IST