Mehmood Ali was born on September 29, 1932. Popularly known simply as
Mehmood was an Indian actor, director and producer. He was known and
appreciated for playing comic roles in Hindi films. He worked in over 300
Hindi films in a career spanning three decades.
Mehmood was one of nine children born to actor and dancer Mumtaz Ali in
Bombay. Mehmood started acting as a reluctant child actor in Bombay Talkies
films like Kismet. Some of his early jobs before he started acting were
driving, doing odd jobs, selling poultry. Mehmood worked as director P L Santoshi's driver. Later Santoshi's son Rajkumar Santoshi cast Mehmood in
his venture Andaz Apna Apna. He was hired to teach table tennis to Meena
Kumari in those days. Mehmood later married her sister Madhu. It was after
marriage and becoming a father that he decided to act to earn a better
living. Mehmood got a small break as a murder victim in CID. He started off by
doing small unnoticed roles in films like "Do Bigha Zameen" and "Pyaasa". He
later went on to act in lead roles but he was appreciated for his comedy.
Death came to him silently in his sleep! Alas, there was no sound of
laughter! He must have missed that! Mehmood the Bollywood comic legend died
in his sleep, in a hotel room at Pennsylvania (where he had gone for medical
treatment) in July 2004.
The inimitable Mehmood was Bollywood’s best-known comedian. There were many
other comedians in Bombay Talkies before he came to the screen, but they
merely functioned as excuses to take the audience’s mind off the
melodramatic plot for a few minutes of the film’s running time. Then, along
came Mehmood – and he made the comedian’s role an integral part of the story
line. Often the comedian’s plight proved more interesting than even the
hero’s romance. And, for a brief period in the 60s, thanks to him, comedy
was king. And Mehmood was the uncrowned King of Comedy.
By the time the 90s set in, Mehmood had played his entire hand as actor,
director, storywriter and producer. But, he was now keeping indifferent
health. He made one last attempt at a comeback, with a film called Dushman
Duniya Ka. By now, there was a new generation of filmgoers in the
theatres and new stars in Bollywood’s firmaments. Mehmood managed to get
the brightest new star into his movie. Shah Rukh Khan – a self-confessed
Mehmood admirer – played the role of the “young” Mehmood in the film,
complete with toothbrush moustache and manic eye-rolls. But, by then,
Mehmood had lost his most precious gift – the ability to feel the pulse of
the junta’s moods and laughter. The film was a dismal flop at the
Mehmood will forever be remembered as he appeared in his heydays as the
King of Comedy. He taught a nation how to laugh! Thank you for the laughter!
Mehmood also gave major breaks to Amitabh Bachchan, who actually stayed with
Mehmood and his brother Mansoor Ali in his early days in Mumbai, and Aruna
Irani in "Bombay To Goa".
Some of his memorable songs are: "Ek chatur naar" from Padosan, "Aao Twist
Karen" (Let's do the twist) from Bhoot Bangla, "Yeh do deewane dil ke" from
Johar Mehmood in Goa, "Hum kaale hai to kyaa huaa dilwaale hain" (What if I
am dark, I have a heart) from Gumnaam.
Mehmood's son Lucky Ali, is a popular singer who has also acted in films.
Pyar Kiye Ja
Love in Tokyo
Patthar ke Sanam
Dil Tera Diwana
Bombay to Goa
Sadhu aur Shaitan
Main Sundar Hoon
Jinny Aur Johnny
Sabse Bada Rupaiya
Johar Mehmood in Goa
Johar Mehood in Hong Kong