Remembering Mehmood Sahab on His 86th Birth Anniversary: A Celebration Through His Movies

With a career spanning over four decades, more than 300 movies to his credit, five Filmfare Awards, and 25 Filmfare nominations, Mehmood sahab was among those rare artists who was equally loved by his co-actors, directors, critics, and the public. On his 86th birth anniversary let’s take a look at his life through his movies.

By Saurav Ray

Sep 29, 2018  Updated On : Oct 1, 2018

On his visit to Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio, the late American actor Eldred Gregory Peck met Mehmood Ali and expressed his surprise by saying “You are too handsome for a comedian!”.


Mehmood Sahab, however, was so much more than a comedian and was a successful director, producer, and a singer. But most importantly, he was a self-made person who rose against all odds to carve his name in the Indian cinema industry and set an example for all aspiring actors.


In his career spanning 53 years, the late Mehmood Sahab worked in more than three hundred movies and received 25 nominations for Filmfare Awards, of which 19 were for ‘Best Performance in a Comic Role’. This earned him the sobriquet ‘The King of Comedy’ and made him a superstar and one of the highest paid actors for nearly two decades.


Acting Career Of Mehmood Ali



Image Credit © Google Images


His first movie as a child actor was in the 1943 movie ‘Kismet’ that was directed by Ashok Kumar. He later did odd jobs and worked as a driver for director PL Santoshi and table tennis coach to Meena Kumari.


After that, he did some blink-and-you-missed-it roles in movies such as ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ (1953), ‘CID’ (1956), and ‘Pyaasa’ (1957).


He got his first break in ‘Parvarish’ (1958), in which played the brother of the lead character.


He won his first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Anokhe in 1963 movie ‘Dil Tera Diwana’.



The year 1966 was a turning point for him, during which he emerged as an outstanding actor by delivering stellar performances as Mahesh in ‘Love in Tokyo’, as the butler in ‘Gumnaam’ and as Atmaram in ‘Pyar Kie Jaa’.


His performance as Atmaram earned him his first Filmfare Award for Best Performance in Comic Role in 1967, the same year in which an award for the category was introduced.


His character in ‘Gumnaam’ became immensely popular for his Hyderabadi accent, which was later used by directors signing the legendary actor in their upcoming movies. His performance in the movie earned him a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor Nomination.



In 1968, he turned producer with the movie ‘Padosan’ and he played a pivotal role of Master Pillai that was one his most remarkable performances, making it a key highlight in the movie and heaped him with critical acclaim.

The same year, he acted in eight movies, including ‘Padosan’, and they were ‘Sangharsh’, ‘Aankhen’, ‘Neel Kamal’, ‘Do Phool’, ‘Do Kaliyan’, ‘Izzat’, and ‘Meherban’ (the last movie earned him a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in Comic Role Nomination.)


In 1969, he acted in two films ‘Neel Kamal’ and ‘Sadhu Aur Shaitaan’ both of which nominated him for Filmfare Awards for Best Performances in Comic Roles.



The following year, Mehmood Sahab did three movies ‘Humjoli’, ‘Bhabi’, and ‘Waaris’, in which the first two movies earned him Filmfare Award Nominations while the third won him a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role.


In 1971, he did three movies ‘Main Sunder Hoon’, ‘Mere Apne’, and ‘Humjoli’. The first one is a beautiful movie in which the great actor played the role of a simpleton who gets a lucky break in the cinema industry, while in the third movie he essayed a triple role. Both the first and third movies nominated him for Filmfare Awards for Best Performances in Comic Roles.


In 1973 he acted in ‘Paras’ and won the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role for his performance in the movie. In 1974, he came with ‘Bombay to Goa’ and received a Filmfare nomination for his performance.



In 1974, Mehmood turned director for ‘Kunwara Baap’ and performed the role of a rickshaw-walla who finds an abandoned boy and raised him singlehandedly, after the boy, unfortunately, develops polio. This movie was personal for the actor because he made the movie based on the struggles of his third child – Macky Ali – who was affected by polio in real life and he also played the role of the polio-affected boy in the movie. Speaking on the experiences of making the movie, Mehmood said that he satisfied his innermost urges by completing the movie.


After that, he made several notable movies, including ‘Wardaan’ in 1975 that won him the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role’.  In 1976, he acted in three movies ‘Ginny Aur Johnny’, ‘Jai Bajrang Bali’, and ‘Sabse Bada Rupaiya’.


His other notable films include ‘Des Pardes’ (1978), ‘Ek Baap Chhe Bete’ (1978), ‘Khanjar’ (1980), ‘Nauker’ (1980), and ‘Khud-Daar’ (1983). The last two movies nominated him for Filmfare Awards for Best Performances in Comic Roles.



In 1994, much to the delight of his fans and followers, he played a small but very effective role in the cult movie ‘Andaz Apna Apna’. The following year, he acted in ‘Guddu’.


His last movie as an actor and director was ‘Dushman Duniya Ka’ that was released in 1996.


After that, he retired from acting and directing and spent most of his time in his farmhouse. On July 23, 2004, Mehmood Sahab passed away in his sleep in Pennsylvania, where he was undergoing treatment for cardiovascular ailments.


Although he lived for 71 years, he left behind a rich legacy that is difficult to match by actors of the previous generations or the present one. Fresh Box Office team salutes the contributions made by the King of Comedy.

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