Veteran Bollywood Actor-Screenwriter Kader Khan Dies at 81

Veteran Bollywood Actor-Screenwriter Kader Khan Dies at 81
Indian Bollywood actor and dialogue writer Kader Khan attends the launch of "My World Within," a book of poetry written by Indian lawmaker Kapil Sibal, in Mumbai on March 17, 2012. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

Kader Khan, a veteran actor and prolific Bollywood screenwriter, died on Dec. 31, 2018, from a prolonged illness. He was 81.

Khan’s son, Sarfaraz Khan, confirmed that his father’s last rites will be conducted in Canada.

“My dad has left us. He passed away on Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. as per Canadian time due to prolonged illness.

“He slipped into a coma in the afternoon. He was in the hospital for 16-17 weeks,” Sarfaraz told Indian news agency Press Trust of India (PTI).

“The last rites will be performed here in Canada only. We have our entire family here and we live here so we are doing it,” he added. “We are thankful to everyone for their blessings and prayers.”

According to reports, Khan had been suffering from breathing difficulties, and doctors had switched him from a regular ventilator to a BiPAP ventilator.

Khan was suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, which is a degenerative disease that causes dementia and difficulty in walking.

Khan is survived by his wife Hajra, son Sarfaraz, a daughter-in-law, and several grandchildren.

Sarfaraz told, “[My dad] was unwell from last few months and in the hospital from last few days. We tried everything we could, but it was time.

“He was a very loving man and he loved everyone who was a part of his life.”

Amitabh Bachchan, an Indian film megastar who has collaborated with Khan, wrote a heartfelt message Twitter: “Kader Khan passes away. Sad depressing news. My prayers and condolences. A brilliant stage artist a most compassionate and accomplished talent on film.

“A writer of eminence; in most of my very successful films. A delightful company and a mathematician.”

Khan was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1937. The screenwriter-turned-actor, who had his peak in the 1980s to 1990s, starred in more than 300 films in Hindi and Urdu, and wrote dialogue for over 250 Indian films.

Prior to entering the film industry, Khan was a civil engineering professor at M. H. Saboo Siddik College of Engineering in Mumbai between 1970 and 1975.

“Basically, by education, I’m a civil engineer,” Khan said in a 2007 interview. “I used to teach Theory of Structure, Hydraulics, Strength of Material, RCC Steel, but my subjects which I used to like were theater, Stanislavsky, Maxim Gorky, Chekhov, Dostoevsky—these are my other teachers. So my life was split into two.”

Khan said he had his beginnings in theater when he was aged 8 or 9. In his college years he wrote and directed plays.

At college he reportedly performed in a play, winning multiple awards, including a cash prize. Actor Dilip Kumar was impressed and signed Khan onto two projects, “Sagina Mahato” and “Bairaag.”

Khan wrote the script of the 1972 Bollywood romantic comedy film “Jawani Diwani,” starring Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bachchan. This would be his film debut.

As a scriptwriter, Khan would frequently collaborate with Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra. Khan got his first break with the 1974 Bollywood film “Roti.

In 1973, Khan debuted as an actor playing the role of a prosecuting attorney in “Daag,” which featured Rajesh Khanna in the lead role.

As an actor he often played smooth-talking villainous roles in his early years in the 80s, and later moved to more comedic roles.

Khan received many awards, including two Filmfare awards in the Best Dialogue category in 1982 and 1993. He also won a Filmfare award for Best Comedian for his performance in “Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri” in 1991.

Many celebrities and notable figures have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to him.

Mimi Nguyen Ly covers U.S. and world news.
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