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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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Lazing around at home, one thinks of those unsung heroes who have contributed to the richness of Indian popular culture and the lack of recognition they endure.
One of Hindi cinema's most durable character artistes - Yunus Parvez - died in Feb 2007. Since Twitter hadn't become a rage then, he did not get any RIP hashtags and passed on with a cursory mention on Zee News probably. I did not even realise that he had passed away till I searched today and was mighty impressed by the fact that he has acted in 277 films in between 1963 and 2005. That's a longer time in the industry than Amitabh Bachchan.

As a tribute to this unsung hero (and many like him, whom I had written about earlier), I thought I will list out ten of his roles I remember (and since I am completely jobless AND mindblowingly benevolent, I have dug out most of the screenshots as well)!  

This was probably the first role where he got noticed, even though I have no recollection of him speaking any lines but as the screenshot shows, he shared space with two of Bollywood's most illustrious police officers.

As Bhandari, he had a properly formed role (complete with a backstory). He was the slimy office minion with a mistress - leading him to divulge tender amounts of RK Constructions to Shanti Builders.
He was also there in a similar role in Kaala Patthar, as a 'Head Engineer' of the mines.

He was the crooked hotel owner - a cameo to announce the entries of Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor. He got conned by a trick played by the duo, thus proving the adage 'you can't cheat an honest man'.


I was reminded of this role by a commenter (The Quark) in the earlier post on Tej Sapru as a gem-cutter with a perfect command over the delicate nuances of Urdu.

Mr India
As Maniklal, he was the landlord of the sea-facing mansion Arun Verma and his orphanage occupied. He tried to evict them when Mogambo wanted the mansion but his pan-chewing threats came to a naught when an invisible man and a crime reporter came to the party!

He was the director of the film within the film. His film has an established heroine (Sonam) and a debutant villager (Naseeruddin Shah) singing the biggest hit of the year. Oye oye!


He was the editor of a newspaper that employed Raveen Tandon who ran a campaign on the front pages to release a unfairly convicted do-gooder. Initially, he seemed livid at this campaign and deliriously happy the very next moment when a phone call informed him that the sales of the newspaper have gone up because of it!

COMMERCIAL BREAK: For a longer listing of newspapers and films within films, do buy Kitnay Aadmi Thay? Completey Useless Bollywood Trivia, soon to be released by Westland Books. 

He was Anees sahab, editor of the publishing house that brought out young poet Saagar's nazm. He praised the young poet generously, forwarded him fan mail and donated the royalty money to an orphanage. And he had a turn of the phrase - "Shairi ki kasam..."

As Bade Babu of Urmila Corporation, he was a poet of sorts too. He came up with the anthem of procrastinators - "Aaj kare so kal kar, kal kare so parson / Itni jaldi kya hain bhaiya jab jeena hain barson?" He maintained files of experienced people to recruit from and disgusted the receptionist by his habit of pulling out his nose hair.

As Rahim Chacha, he had a momentous role. He explained to Vijay why billa number 786 was something he should never let go. And one of the most explosive dialogues in the film was addressed to him - "Rahim Chacha - jo pachchees baras mein nahin hua, woh ab hoga. Agle hafte ek aur coolie mawaalion ko paise dene se inqaar karne wala hain".

So, did I miss out anything significant? 


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