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Arts and Culture

The top 10 Sanjeev Kumar films

Angoor

By: ASJAD NAZIR

THIS week marks the death anniversary of actor Sanjeev Kumar, who passed away aged just 47 on November 6, 1985. Born Harihar Jethalal Jariwala on July 9, 1938, he left behind an immense body of work and is widely regarded as one of the finest actors in Bollywood history. His incredible acting prowess, resulted in a chameleon like ability to transform himself, including playing nine roles in Naya Din Nai Raat (1974).

Eastern Eye decided to celebrate the late great star by preparing a watchlist of his top 10 movies.

Khilona (1970): After delivering a host of stand-out performances in films such as Shikar (1968), which had earned him a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award, Sanjeev Kumar delivered a star-making turn in Khilona. The all-time classic sees him play a man who becomes mentally unwell after a trauma and his strained relationship with a kind-hearted prostitute brought in to look after him. Khilona would win the Filmfare Best Movie award and he would earn a nomination for Best Actor.

Koshish (1972): The classic drama directed by Gulzar is best remembered for the stunning performances of lead stars Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri. They play a deaf and mute couple, who fall in love, get married and struggle to bring up their child. The emotional drama inspired by the 1961 Japanese film Happiness of Us Alone would win honours, including a prestigious National Film Award for Best Screenplay (Gulzar) and Best Actor, for Kumar.

Aandhi (1975): The actor teamed up with acclaimed writer-director Gulzar again for this political drama, which earned him a Filmfare Best Actor award. The story revolves around an estranged couple, who are reconnected years later when she has become a leading politician and stays at a hotel he now runs. The film thought to be inspired by then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and her estranged husband, was banned a few months after its release, which only increased interest in it.

Sholay (1975): Although the record-breaking curry western had Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini in lead roles, and saw Amjad Khan play Bollywood’s most memorable villain, the main protagonist is actually the character played by Sanjeev Kumar. He is the policeman who has his life destroyed by a dacoit and hires two small-time thieves he once arrested to take him on. Kumar would be the only cast member to get a Filmfare Award Best Actor nomination.

Mausam (1975): The dream team of writerdirector Gulzar and Sanjeev Kumar delivered
this award-winning drama about a man who betrays the woman he loves and returns decades later to seek forgiveness but finds she has died, and her daughter has been pushed down a darkened path. He attempts to seek redemption by helping the daughter, who looks like her, and the unexpected happens. The versatile performer once again goes through a remarkable transformation and gets himself a Filmfare Best Actor nomination for the film.

Arjun Pandit (1976): The actor teamed up with legendary filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee for this film based on a Bengali novel of Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay and won another Filmfare Best Actor award. He plays a vicious henchman, who goes from being hated to having his cold-heart melted after seeing an act of kindness from a doctor and becoming a revered figure into old age. It was another terrific transformative performance and would earn him a Filmfare Best Actor award.

Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1976): The only fulllength Hindi feature film of legendary writerdirector Satyajit Ray is an art-house classic that won honours, including a National ward for Best Film and a Filmfare Best Film (critics) award. Kumar heads the strong cast in the internationally acclaimed drama about two noblemen in 19th century India obsessed with chess and neglecting their duties, which was a metaphor for ruling classes responsible for the country’s downfall. It was India’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 51st Academy Awards.

Trishul (1978): The all-time classic directed by Yash Chopra was a blockbuster success when it released. Central to the story is an angry young man (Amitabh Bachchan), who seeks revenge on the father (Sanjeev Kumar) who abandoned his mother to marry a wealthy heiress. Others soon get caught in the crossfire of their battle. Sanjeev Kumar would get a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance.

Pati Patni Aur Woh (1978): He may have made a name for himself as a phenomenal dramatic actor, but Sanjeev Kumar also had a great flair for comedy and that was illustrated with this smash hit film, which was remade in 2019 with Kartik Aaryan playing his role. He plays a happily married man, who one day gets drawn to an attractive co-worker and plots to have an affair, which turns his life upside down.

Angoor (1982): The incredible partnership of Gulzar and Sanjeev Kumar was rounded off with two successful 1982 releases, Namkeen and fabulously funny film Angoor. The comedy of errors revolves around two sets of identical twins with the same names, who are separated at birth and reunited in adulthood. Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma are a delight in their respective double roles in this comedic entertainer

Eastern Eye

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