My Name Is Khan
Though a widespread surname in most countries of Central and South Asia, Khan has become the most prestigious surname in India, especially during the last two decades, thanks to my unprecedented popularity as the superstar trio of Bollywood – Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amir Khan. Of course, the new generation, who has grown up watching me in hit movies as one or the other of the three Khans, cannot deviate from their devotion for them, but their elders would instantly remember me as some of the most renowned Khans of Bollywood of an earlier era, as I take them on the nostalgic journey down the decades, when Bollywood was Bombay, the Mecca of Hindi cinema.
I was a pioneer producer-director of Hindi cinema, best known for directing Mother India (1957), which won the Filmfare Awards for Best Film and Best Director and was a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. I set up the Mehboob Studio in Mumbai. Throughout my career, I produced and directed many blockbuster films, the most notable being the biggest musical Anmol Ghadi (1946), romantic drama Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling Aan (1951), the dramatic Amar (1954) and the social epic Mother India (1957), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1957 and was a remake of my own classic Aurat (1940). I have directed 21 other films dating from the late 1930s. I take pride in having introduced and/or helped establish the careers of many actors and actresses who went onto become big stars in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s such as Motilal, Surendra, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Nargis, Nimmi and Nadira.
Another screen legend, whose performance in many a film, especially V. Shantaram’s Padosi (1941), became a household word. I am proud to have worked in some of the most prestigious pictures of 1930s and 40s including Noor Jahan (1931), Subah Ka Sitara (1932), Chandra Gupta (1934), Sunehra Sansar (1936), Bharosa (1940), Sohag (1940), Padosi (1941), Phool (1945) and Nirala (1950). I can never forget how film critics and the viewers alike, on release of Padosi, were stunned to see me, a Khan, playing with perfection the role of a Hindu Thakur and my counterpart, Gajanan Jagirdar, a staunch Hindu, playing the part of the Muslim Mirza. This casting coupe was V. Shantaram's master stroke to convincingly convey the message of Hindu-Muslim unity through his classic movie Padosi.
It is true, my name was Yusuf Khan, when in 1943, actress Devika Rani, who was also the wife of the founder of the Bombay Talkies film studio, Himanshu Rai, discovered me and gave me the screen name Dilip Kumar for my debut film Jwar Bhata (1944). There is an interesting explanation why she changed my name from Khan to a Kumar. The First Lady of Indian Cinema, as she was called, had a crush on her hero, a Muslim, during shooting of a film being made by her husband, Himanshu Rai, the founder of Bombay Talkies. On discovering their romance, he immediately replaced his male lead with Ashok Kumar, his lab assistant. The film was a super hit and Ashok Kumar not only became an overnight star, but also proved lucky for Devika Rani, the two of them together making many hit movies. She hoped the Kumar suffix to my name would be as lucky for me as it was for Ashok Kumar. Lucky it was. Starting my career in 1944, I starred in some of the most commercially successful films of the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. I was the first actor to receive a Filmfare Best Actor Award and hold the record for most number of Filmfare Awards won for that category. I starred in a wide variety of roles such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the first technicolor Aan (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), the historical romance Mughal E Azam (1960) and the social Ganga Jamuna (1961). In 1981 I played a character role in the blockbuster film Kranti and continued my career playing central character roles in hits such as Shakti (1982), Vidhata (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). I am, indeed, very much humbled by the immense love and respect I have received from my fans and fraternity throughout my career.
As Feroz Khan, I was an actor, film editor, producer and director in the Hindi film industry. For my flamboyant style, with cow-boyish swagger and cigar toting persona which revolutionized the style quotient of the otherwise conventional Bollywood hero, I was known as the Clint Eastwood of the East and a style icon in the industry. I appeared in over 50 films in the 1970s and 1980s, and became one of India's best-loved heroes with my role in the 1980 hit film Qurbani, which I also directed. I produced, directed, and starred in the 1975 film Dharmatma, which was the first Indian film to be shot in Afghanistan and was also my first blockbuster hit as producer, director, and star. This movie was inspired by the Hollywood film The Godfather. Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, I was a leading Bollywood star, directing and starring in many of my films. I won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Aadmi Aur Insaan in 1970, and was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. I launched my son Fardeen Khan's career with the 1998 film Prem Aggan. In 2003, I produced and directed Janasheen, which also starred my son Fardeen. I starred alongside my son again in Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena (2005). Fardeen Khan has since established himself as an another Khan to watch out for.
I made my debut in the 1964 Chetan Anand film "Haqeeqat" followed by the Rajshri film Dosti. In the 1960s and 1970s I starred in the movies Dus Lakh, Ek Phool Do Mali and Intaqam. I also acted opposite my brother Feroz Khan in three films, Upaasna (1971), Mela (1971) and Nagin (1976). I turned producer and director of three films in which I played the leading role, which were Chandi Sona (1977), Abdullah (1980) and Kala Dhanda Goray Log (1986). After Kala Danda Goray Log I stopped acting in films and moved onto starring in and directing television series. In 1990 I starred and directed the Indian TV series The Sword of Tipu Sultan. While filming in 1989, I got severely burnt in a fire on the sets in Premier Studios in Mysore. I recovered after many months in hospital and have since produced and directed television serials. I also starred and directed the Mega Indian TV series "The Great Maratha". In the late 90s I directed the TV-series Jai Hanuman (1997-2000). In the new millennium, I directed a mini series called Maha Kavya Mahabharat and a movie starring Jessica Chapnik called Maryada Purushottam (2005). My youngest daughter Suzanne Khan is married to Hrithik Roshan and my son Zayed Khan is one more rising Khan of Bollywood, with hits like Main Hun Naa, Dus and Om Shanti Om.
I am an actor, comedian, script and dialogue writer. I have acted in over 300 films and have written dialogue for over 1,000 Indian films, from the 1970s up to the turn of the 21st century. I am most popularly recognized for working with comedian actor Govinda in comedy films by director David Dhawan. I have also worked side by side with other comedians like Shakti Kapoor and Johnny Lever in over 300 films. I played a large variety of parts in films like a supporting role of a father, uncle, brother, relative, the main villain or the side villain, guest actor and comedian.I am said to be as responsible for Amitabh Bachchan's success as a Bollywood icon as writer duo Salim-Javed. I wrote many memorable dialogues for Amitabh's films, including Mr. Natwarlal, Amar Akbar Anthony, Agneepath, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Coolie, Laawaris and Naseeb, which were huge hits at the box office. I recently appeared in Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Lucky: No Time for Love (2006) and Family: Ties of Blood (2006). I have also starred in my own comedy television series titled Hasna Mat, which aired on Star Plus. I am currently writing a sequel to the famous comedy Andaaz Apna Apna.
Thanks to Gabbar Singh in Sholay (1975), I enjoyed the iconic popularity for playing villain roles in Hindi films. I have worked in over 130 films in my film career spanning nearly twenty years, though the role of Gabbar, the dreaded Chambal dacoit, remains my most powerful and memorable performance. The movie Sholay is one of the all-time blockbuster movies in India and one of the highest earners, and although the movie had a cast of superstars including Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra, the most memorable character was considered to be that of Gabbar Singh. After the success of Sholay I continued to play villain roles in many subsequent Hindi films in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, though I was also acclaimed for playing many other unconventional roles. In the critically acclaimed film Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977), directed by Satyajit Ray, I played the helpless and deluded monarch Wajid Ali Shah, whose kingdom, Avadh, is being targeted by British colonialists from the British East India Company. I played a positive role opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Yaarana (1981) where I played Bachchan's best friend and in Laawaris as Amitabh's father. In the art film Utsav (1984), I portrayed Vatsayana, the author of the Kama Sutra. In 1988 I appeared in the Merchant-Ivory English film The Perfect Murder as an underworld don. I also excelled at playing comical characters in films such as Qurbani (1980), Love Story (1982) and Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986).
So, that was my role of the Khans of the bygone era of Bollywood. In fact, contemporary Khans are so much covered by the media that any further feedback would be overlapping. Still, in deference to the dedicated devotion of my innumerable fans, I may as well include the three most famous Khans of Bollywood in my brief biography.
As Aamir Khan I am an actor, director and producer. I have worked in a number of critically and commercially successful films and have established myself as one of the leading actors of Hindi cinema. Starting my career as a child actor in my uncle Nasir Hussain's film Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), I began my professional career eleven years later with the film, Holi (1984). I had my first commercial success with my cousin Mansoor Khan's film Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), for which I won a Filmfare Best Male Debut Award. After seven previous nominations during the 1980s and 1990s, I received my first Filmfare Best Actor Award for my performance in the major grosser Raja Hindustani (1996).
In 2001, I made my debut as a film producer with the Academy Award-nominated Lagaan. I played the lead role in the film and earned my second Filmfare Best Actor Award for my performance. I also won a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance for his role in Rang De Basanti (2006). In 2007, I made my directorial debut with Taare Zameen Par, for which I received a Filmfare Best Director Award. This was followed by Ghajini (2008), which became the highest-grossing Indian film of all-time, its record to be broken by my next movie 3 Idiots (2009). My other notable movies include Dil (1990), which became the highest grossing film of the year, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991), Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993) and Rangeela (1995). Most of these films were successful critically and commercially.
In 2008, I launched my nephew Imran Khan's debut in the film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na under my production house. The film was a big hit in India, and eventually earned me another nomination for Best Movie at the Filmfare.
I made my acting debut with the film Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988), had my first commercial success with the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), and won a Filmfare Best Male Debut Award for my performance. I clawed back my previous success in 1994 with his second collaboration with director Sooraj Barjatya in the romance Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, co-starring Madhuri Dixit. This film was the biggest hit of that year, and turned out to be one of Bollywood's highest grossing films ever, becoming the fourth highest earner of all time. I went on to star in some of Bollywood's most successful films, such as Saajan (1991), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), Karan Arjun (1995), Biwi No.1 (1999), having appeared in the highest earning films of five separate years during my career. In 1999, I won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his extended appearance in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), and since then have starred in several critical and commercial successes, including Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Tere Naam (2003), No Entry (2005) Partner (2007) and Wanted (2009).
I began my career appearing in several television serials in the late 1980s. I made my film debut in Deewana (1992). Since then, I have been part of numerous commercially successful films and have earned critical acclaim for many of my performances. I have won thirteen Filmfare Awards for my work in Indian films, seven of which are in the Best Actor category. My films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Chak De India (2007), Om Shanti Om (2007) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) remain some of Bollywood's biggest hits, while films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Veer-Zaara (2004) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) have been top-grossing Indian productions in the overseas markets, making me one of the most successful actors of India.
At the end, I may also make a mention of how the media sees me as the top three Khans of Bollywood:
Amir Khan: Mr. Perfectionist (I do try to be one)
Salman Khan: The Bad Boy of Bollywood (which I am not)
Shahrukh Khan: King Khan (I hope to live up to this title in my next “My Name Is Khan”).